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The world is on the threshold of an “all things mobile” era

It seems that a new era, the “all things mobile” period, is approaching—at least that’s what the CTIA Association chose as its slogan for its International CTIA Wireless Conference, held on May 8–10 in New Orleans, LA. Hoping to get a few insights into the upcoming trends and to harvest some promising leads, Alexey Rybakov (VP, Business Development) and Andrey Pronin (SVP, Strategy, Technology, and Marketing) visited the event.

Wireless products and services are a powerful agent of social change that allow billions of people around the world anytime, anywhere access, according to the report released by BSR and CTIA, named “Socioeconomic Impacts of Wireless Technology.” It is mentioned that due to wireless technology, billions of “underbanked” or “unbanked” people worldwide have access to market information and banking services, so they receive a fair price for their goods and services and protect their money. Our colleagues also noted the high share of interest, announcements, and applications presented at the CTIA Wireless 2012 event and devoted to the mobile banking market.

For example, Sprint CEO Dan Hasse made the following key points in his presentation:

  • Ÿ Globally, more people have mobile phones than electricity
  • Ÿ There are roughly 6 billion people with mobile devices in the world, and less than 2 billion bank accounts
  • Ÿ There is 60% growth in payments with mobile devices, and this is expected to grow from about $200B in 2012 to over $800B in 2014
  • Ÿ Still, about 85% of global payment transactions today are via cash, and only about 15% of transactions are electronic using payment methods like credit cards or mobile devices

The question is how to translate this set of sometimes-conflicting evolutions into a single trend? According to Dan Hasse, some obvious problems need to be addressed at the organization or even industry levels (e.g., the lack of cross-platform support for existing applications, the variety of competing digital wallets and payment systems with their historical limitations). Banks are well known for their information protection policies, leading to application limitations for end users. Hasse also outlined the critical importance of building trust with customers and the need to improve the reputation of the wireless industry. In fact, it turns out that more than 82% of users do not have safety or security applications installed on their device, and most don’t entrust their savings to the net.

The CTIA Wireless Trade Show was shaken up by two big mobile payment-processing announcements from MasterCard and VeriFone. This leads us to believe that the mobile finance story has enough potential to stir the market.

MasterCard announced its entry into the digital wallet fray. The revolutionary wallet service dubbed PayPass will help merchants to add contactless payment options for consumers. It allows the users to accept and send electronic payments across multiple channels at the point of sale with NFC technology or online; to use American Express, Discover, Visa, and other branded credit, debit, and prepaid cards; and to connect the digital wallets into the PayPass Acceptance Network, leveraging MasterCard’s check-out, fraud detection, and authentication services. Barnes & Noble and American Airlines will be the first major companies piloting the payment technology, but more are expected to follow suit, particularly because MasterCard has opened up its API to allow anyone to build on the technology’s architecture.

Payment-processing giant VeriFone also announced a new payment technology called SAIL. Offering the sellers a free credit card reader that connects to iOS and Android devices without much effort and a $9.95 monthly subscription for power retailers that want to lower their per-charge fee from 2.7% to 1.95%, VeriFone is going to seize a rather large market share from competitors. The most likely users of the new payment service are small businesses such as cafes, roadside shops, and private enterprises. Existing VeriFone customers worldwide can also integrate their operations in SAIL, with a special program and a mobile wireless terminal that accepts NFC-payments from various systems such as Google Wallet. In the long term, VeriFone plans to release the SDK for developers so they can create various applications and plug-ins (e.g., sales analysis system, providing "live" data on purchases, modules for integration into existing ERP and CRM systems).

To stay ahead of the changing market, Auriga engineers developed a comprehensive mobile banking application for customers to manage their bank accounts, transactions, and payments. The application was created in close cooperation with banking analysts and experts. It combines the best practices of our core service lines—financial and mobile development. The app is targeted at iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, RIM (Blackberry), and Bada platforms, and it follows the stringent security standards of private personal and banking information. Therefore, our business analysts and engineers examined all recent trends in the information-security domain. The following features are in addition to the standard features of the banking apps on the market:

  • Secure data storage
  • Complete cleaning of temporary storage
  • Data encryption of information
  • Ÿ Data disclosure in the code of the application, preventing usage of the information after hacking
  • Access qualification from the application to system data
  • Solid protection mechanisms ingrained in the solution
  • Implementation of so-called operations templates that eliminate the possibility of making payments and transfers to third parties and organizations
  • Ÿ Timeout payments for a period of one to three days in cases of payment transactions to counterparties not listed in the templates

These protective measures reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions on customer accounts. Several large Russian retail banks are currently using this application.

Alexander Videnev, Business Development Director, shared his insights on the current trends and perspectives of mobile banking development:

In fact, we're not going to limit ourselves by developing applications designed for individuals only. One of the most exciting and rapidly developing areas is the segment of small businesses that is perfectly illustrated by the new product releases of MasterCard and VeriFone. In fact, we are ready to launch a project to develop an application for small enterprises in the short term. It’s expected to provide them with the ability to check enterprise accounts and payment options on-line and track payment documents. At present, we are examining the issues related to ensuring the highest level of security for this solution.

About CTIA Wireless

CTIA, The Wireless Association® (http://www.ctia.org/), is an international nonprofit membership organization that has represented the wireless communications industry since 1984. Association members include wireless carriers and their suppliers as well as providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products.

The association advocates on behalf of its members at all levels of government. CTIA also coordinates the industry's voluntary efforts to provide consumers with a variety of choices and information regarding their wireless products and services. This includes the voluntary industry guidelines, programs that promote mobile device recycling and reusing, and wireless accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

CTIA also supports numerous important industry initiatives and operates the industry's leading trade shows as well as equipment testing and certification programs to ensure a high standard of quality for consumers. 



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