I have now been working in the Australian payments industry for a while and I am observing my own payments experiences everywhere I go... I love to use tap-and-go as often as I can and I hardly ever have cash on me these days, so I thought it would be hard for me to experience a "WoW" factor around NFC contactless transactions...
But the new McDonald's touch screen kiosk with self-service checkouts including NFC contactless payments are so quick and simple that I was very impressed. McDonald's has made a huge investment into these large screens and apparently the very intuitive software was build in Scandinavia... Soon we will see sensors underneath the tables that will tell the Maccas staff where a customer took a seat while waiting for his or her order number to be brought over.
I now visited two of these Maccas restaurants around Sydney and customers seem to love it.
Normally it is not allowed to film in a McDonald's restaurant for privacy purposes, but the operations manager allowed me to only film the screen... Watch yourself how easy the order process is and how quickly the order information and payment total is passed to the contactless Ingenico device. The payment and order receipt is printed within a split second as well. The Ingenico payment terminal supports Mastercard, Visa, Amex and Eftpos.
Working at Mint Payments I can appreciate what the guys have done and the Mint team has build a deeply integrated payments SDK as well, that allows retailers and restaurants to do similar integrations with their POS systems or touch screen terminals in-store or even on the go. MYOB for example has embedded the Mint SDK deeply into their MYOB PayDirect app that communicates with Mint's bluetooth card reader, so that small business owners such as tradies or plumbers can now offer a convenient payments experience anywhere they go as well - no electricity or telephone cables required! Mintegrate is real innovation made in Australia. Exciting times.
It was one of those moments, where something simple happened to me and suddenly I realised that the future had arrived... All I wanted to do was to show my little son his favorite kids TV show on my LG TV. Usually he watches it on Youtube via my iPad, but I knew there was a Youtube symbol in my TV menu. So I opened Youtube on my LG TV and suddenly in a few steps it paired my iPhone as a remote control - quick and easy. All I had to do was open "Youtube.com/pair" in my safari browser on my iPhone and enter a code. In addition the Youtube app allowed me to log myself into my Youtube account by pulling up Youtube.com/activate in the browser on my iPhone. Done.
Now I can quickly search for videos on my iPhone and transfer them to my bigger TV screen, which is much more fun to watch due to the much bigger screen of course. Cool.
I can also pull up all my personal uploads and my channels directly on my TV. Cool.
How did they do it?
The google developers must have joined the LG developers program under http://developer.lge.com/main/Intro.dev and they created a really clever API mashup. Well done google dev team! Well done LG for opening up your TVs with a proper developer program.
Conclusion and Feedback for Google:
Youtube as the main future TV channel is now much more convenient on my LG TV... Bye Bye cable TV! In addition two more of my devices are now seamlessly connected. The Internet of Things has reached my living room and made me happy. The pairing was quick and simple. Minor improvements can be done to the graphics in the Settings menu on the LG TV which slightly moved out of the screen, plus the pairing of more devices did not load a new key for a while.
I had this moment… walking past the below electric vehicle charging station on my Mint business trip to Melbourne last week… I thought to myself: “In a few years we will all have such chargepoints in our front yard.” (See map of Australian chargepoints here…) It is pretty amazing what some of these companies do. Chargepoint in the US seems to be leading the way and the future will be bright especially once the world’s "Peak Oil" is reached.
Apparently a supercharger network by Tesla Motors has already been confirmed according to this post… Other companies such as GoGet or Mitsubishi’s i-MieV are already heading into the e-car direction as well…
If Steve Jobs was still around, would Apple have partnered with Tesla already to completely redesign a car and to seamlessly integrate all of Apple’s hard and software… Think about it? Cars have not changed much since the last century… 4 wheels, front steering, windows that open vertically, steering wheel… “Let’s think different”, Steve would have said… “Let’s steer a car with one button or your iPhone 6 Plus…” Rumors suggest he was thinking about the “iCar”…
I get really excited about the future of cars also looking at what google does in combining their driver-less cars with their latest maps technology and soon my Uber app will show me all these robot-driven cars in my area – or will it one day be jetpacks that pick me up anywhere? Either way, let’s hope the renewable energies and efficient rechargeable batteries soon hit the mass market to power our transportation.
Wow, how time flies. 16 month ago I joint the founders of Mint Wireless. And what an exciting ride it has been since then. In fact, it kept me so busy that I have not written in my blog in a year. A real shame, since so many disrupting things are going on in the payments industry that really excite me…
Let’s take one step back and look into why I was so fascinated by the mPOS payment space in the first place when I was looking for my next entrepreneurial challenge in early 2013… As a matter of fact, I analysed various opportunities back then with a good mate of mine… online supermarkets, online car tyres, online inheritance, airbnb for boats and the list went on and on with endless opportunities. I love to disrupt and I am grateful to be able to experience all these technological revolutions first hand. When I looked at the payment revolution that was taking place in the US and Europe through Square, iZettle, Payleven and other companies, I sent off emails to the CEOs and asked them bluntly whether we could launch their businesses in Australia for them since I could not find one appealing solution in the marketplace that would service Australian small business owners well… Luckily my good mate met one of the founders of Mint during that time and the rest is history… but let’s look at the main reasons why the Australian mPOS payment space was and still is ripe for some disruption:
1. Acceptance Side
a) Lack of software innovation: Among the big four banks only CBA really showed a continuous stream of innovative product launches (Leo/Pi, Emmy) and investments into the technology and mPOS space over the last few years: “Commonwealth Bank is on track to spend more than $1 billion on technology this year having spent $589 million in the first half.” Westpac has only recently introduced “The Hive” as its early-stage innovation center. In general large corporations often and especially banks face the dilemma of legacy systems and complex internal processes that hinder innovative and creative task forces. While some multinational companies or banks set out nimble speed-boats (spin-offs) that are independent in their decision-making e.g. the Otto Group, others mostly struggle to keep up with market developments and technology trends, especially if they keep the think-tanks and innovation departments in-house within their complex hierarchies. "The banks who don't embrace the fintech revolution, will be left behind," says Sam Hodges, co-founder of Funding Circle in the US. “Jeff Schumacher, CEO of BCG Digital Ventures, says of the companies receiving series A or B financing in Silicon Valley, around half of all investments were into consumer facing companies, and almost two-thirds of those investments were into fintech.”
And then there are start-ups and young local players similar to Mint that are powering forward in terms of innovation, such as Tyro, Quest, MyTappr or dozens of Aussie start-ups in the Customer-Not-Present (CNP) space… It is good to see such payment innovation made in Australia, which I am sure Malcolm Turnbull would also agree to, who met up with Jack Dorsey in January 2014… What would happen, if Square came to Australia? I reckon it would even increase the level of innovation coming out of Australia through the increased competition, but ultimately all banks will offer an mPOS solution on their own anyways. Small business owners will benefit from it, since they will see mPOS products improving greatly. I am also not rating Square that highly when it comes to their NFC/EMV competency and knowledge about the AU regulatory requirements at this stage and Jack and his team are currently probably very busy, I reckon, figuring out how to launch their Chip&Pin solution in the US… Can’t wait until they reveal their Chip&Pin hardware… PayPal Here on the other hand is a serious competitor both on the hardware and software side – all that PayPal Here is currently missing is EFTPOS support for Australia.
b) Lack of convenient onboarding and merchant support: Especially the micro to small business sector - with roughly 1.9 million business in Australia falling into this category - were long underserved by banks due to their risk profiles e.g. freelancers, sole traders, tradies, plumbers, contractors etc. In addition it was a tedious and very time consuming paper-based process that not only required 100 points of ID, but company details, statements etc. plus various signatures on lengthy documents, which often still involved going to a branch. Luckily this is now a thing of the past and most onboarding flows are online with the option to upload signed documents as a scan and will soon be fully mobile. My comparison of different onboarding flows still shows major differences though with loads of room for improvements especially when it comes to duplicate data entries required for different systems e.g. the signup for CBA’s Emmy mPOS product requires personal data to be entered various times into an online form, phone validation both by CBA and KeyCorp plus an additional in-app entry without the systems synchronising. In the last 16 month at Mint Wireless, the team has been working hard on the onboarding flow which Mint uses for its customers that is now fully digital with a quick turn-around time.
c) Lack of mobile Eftpos and contactless devices: How many of the old, clunky and non-integrated bricks do you run across every day buying your coffees? Still plenty and yes, they work. No doubt. However the next generation of credit card terminals offer a much more convenient use with direct interfaces to POS software, email or SMS receipts, etc. and without any cables! Waiters will be able to carry them in their pockets and serve you seamlessly at your table or standing in the queue (Queue Busting). Signatures are already a thing of the past since 1st of August 2014 and are gradually being phased out thanks to the PINWISE campaign. This means that the fraud risks of leaving your credit card with a waiter gets reduced as well. There still are over 826,000 Eftpos terminals in Australia and 250,000 contactless terminals with an estimated 300,000 Eftpos or Hicaps needing a replacement in the next few years. Australia has one of the highest contactless adoptions in the world and consumers are demanding innovation around the hardware: “The proportion of Australian adults who owned a contactless card increased from 26% in September 2011 to 66% in March 2014, while the proportion that have used a contactless card increased from 12% to 47% over the same period. It was about time that the heavy bricks or click-clack machines disappeared from taxis etc. and they were never really convenient for plumbers or tradies out on the road. I love what Uber, Cabcharge and Ingogo have done for taxi drivers and Mint will play in this exciting space as well. Ultimately EMV hardware will get commoditised in the next couple of years and the smarts around it will largely determine how businesses can make use of it. We are currently looking closely at Loyalty Programs, Proximity Features and Analytics plus various innovative mobile CNP features to enrich the value of mPOS payments even further for small business owners helping not only to improve their cashflow, reducing time spent on invoicing and administrative work, but also to generate more valuable insights plus to make their business more sticky with loyal and returning customers.
2. Issuing Side
a) Apple Pay: Well, well, well… the issuing side has recently gained tremendous momentum with the announcement of Apple Pay. Whilst other digital wallets such as google wallet are considered a failure, it seems that the message has finally gotten through to the banks, schemes and consumers around the globe: “There are more convenient ways to pay!” EMVCo had published its new payment tokenisation standard in March this year and even the US Fed has already a tokenization working group on the way. Apple will essentially become a Tokenisation Service Provider, which is very exciting also for Mint (ASX: MNW) with the M10 NFC enabled contactless terminals. The new hype will soon be reaching all iPhone6-countries around the world. It is only a matter of a few years until banks will stop sending out plastic credit cards….
b) The end of plastic credit cards: I strongly believe that the days of plastic credit cards are counted. I even have a bet with my good mate that schemes will stop shipping plastic cards as soon as 2019. Moore's law hit credit cards without a doubt: "Our brains are not well equipped to understand sustained exponential growth. In particular, we severely underestimate how big the numbers can get." Whilst the credit card mechanisms and the power of the schemes such as Mastercard, Visa or Amex will remain and even grow by 2019, the plastic will disappear… We will simply load new tokens (“temporary credit card numbers”) through APIs straight from the schemes into our digital wallets or apps whenever we need to refresh the stored and hashed payment data on our devices or in our payment software. Host Card Emulation (HCE) will drive more and more value to the NFC ecosystem moving forward and turn all sorts of mobile devices into payment methods on the issuing side.
Interestingly enough though contactless payments with a mobile phone are a normal part of everyday life for people in Japan since the 1990s, but the Galapagos effect has shielded Japan off from other parts of the world making it now a glass bowl for everyone to look into the future especially of the US, that is still an old-school mag-swipe country… I would go as far as comparing the commencing death of plastic credit cards (killed by tokens) with the progressing death of paper-based flight tickets (killed by QR codes), the death of the telephone booth (killed by mobile phones), the death of music CDs and film DVDs (killed by online streaming and iTunes), the death of large hard drives (killed by the cloud) or the death of paper-based newspapers (killed by online publishing)… I also get really excited by all-in-one credit cards and one of the hottest new start-ups I have read about is Final, that plans to provide a unique, merchant-specific credit card number produced by Final that can be used just once or they can be used consistently to allow ongoing charges. Listen up fraudsters. Your life will get much harder! You bet, I have signed up to be part of the launch of final….
c) The end of signatures and PINs: As mentioned already in the above, contactless transactions are on the rise and I reckon the current transaction limit in Australia of $100 AUD will soon be raised as well. The end of signatures as a security mechanism for credit card transaction is now very close and despite many countries finally moving to Chip&Pin, there are already new, more secure and convenient authentication mechanism on the horizon. Mastercard is already running voice and face recognition and Biometrics have surely entered the mainstream… Apple’s biometrics combined with their NFC and tokenization have allowed them to charge “Customer-Present” rates and finger scanner mechanisms (e.g. TouchID) are built into most new smartphones already.
d) The end of cash: Many parts of the world, such as Sweden are even moving to a cashless economy, so cash will ultimately be killed by other payment methods such as tokens, Paypal or new start-ups such as Dwolla.com or maybe even a digital currency like Bitcoin as well. Just apply Moore’s law to the sheer processing power and ever faster growing market penetration of smart devices and it will accelerate innovations in the payment space to dramatic levels in the upcoming years. Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Paypal are all prepared to attack payments globally and will surely drive the transition of the masses, but there is a healthy mpos eco-system and hundreds of start-up especially in the US driving new kind of payment innovations – one of them still Square itself pivoting and trialling new payment ideas into all sorts of directions e.g. now trying to send payments via bluetooth…
So here I am, working frenetically with all the other minties on the payment platform of Mint, feeling proud that I am part of this payment revolution in Australia introducing new technologies to the market such as a fully white-label enabled mPOS payment platform that banks can license to jump onto this wave quickly while benefiting from ongoing innovations that Mint will provide as an outsourcing partner. The Mint roadmap is packed in line with the above technology disruptions e.g. new app features, tokenisation, wallets, customer-not-present features and of course certifying the latest mobile terminals being an acquirer- and hardware-agnostic solution provider. Soon every bank in Australia will offer some sort of an mobile payments product both on the acceptance and issuing side which opens up new opportunities also for Mint and its partners especially when it comes to developer programs, open APIs and webservices.
This is an important update to my previous post "How to fix iPhone battery issue..." which did NOT get my battery back to normal, since it played up again after a little while... Finally, I now found a method that got my iPhone back to normal with a battery life of up to 24 hours and more... I feel like a new human being again and do not constantly have to look for a power supply, but I can now even leave my iPhone 4 on the couch over night and it will not loose much battery life, if I am not using it... Here is how I did it: I set my iPhone up as a NEW phone WITHOUT installing the backup and it was VERY successful and easier as I thought... Maybe took me roughly 2 hours... That's all.
Before you do Set Up Your iPhone as a NEW PHONE, please remember that any data that you cannot store externally will be lost, but there are apps to back up almost everything you need... Here are a few things I did...
After you Set UP Your iPhone as a NEW PHONE, the real work begins, but it is well worth it...
WELCOME TO YOUR NEW LIFE WITH AN IPHONE4 BATTERY THAT LASTS AS IF IT WAS NEW!
This is a pretty cool update by google allowing you to integrate your mobile iOS and Android apps with one SDK / container tag each and then remote control the things you would like to track and analyse later once the native code is build. We will surely be using this one: http://analytics.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/introducing-google-tag-manager-for.html
READ FIRST!!! VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE TO THIS POST. READ FIRST!!!
Three days ago I updated all of the apps on my iPhone 4 and from then on my battery lasted only a few hours after usually lasting all day. The decline in battery power was significant from maybe 12 hours down to 3 hours. I was able to fix it through the help of the Apple support chat. Here is what I had to do:
Follow these steps to erase your device and to install the backup to fix the components that suck up your battery.
1. Install all iOS updates! Check for software updates and install them if available.
2. Transfer the content! Before you erase your device, take few minutes to transfer your content from your device to your computer to ensure that all your critical data is safe.
3. Back up your iPhone! Back up your device before you erase it. Review the steps below, depending on your backup method, to ensure that you have a recent backup in case you decide to restore your device from a backup.
Important: Double check the backup history and settings in iTunes while your iPhone is plugged in and also check the settings you used, e.g. whether you once entered a security password and make sure you know that one!
a) iCloud: Cloud backs up your device automatically once a day when connected to power and Wi-Fi. Review when your device was last backed up by tapping Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. You can see the last time the device was backed up on the bottom of the page. If you need to back up, tap Backup now. Ensure that your device is connected to Wi-Fi and connected to a power source before backing up.
b) iTunes: To back up your device using iTunes:
4. Turn off iMessage! If iMessage is active, turn off iMessage at Settings > Messages > iMessage. No idea why this has to be done, but I did as per Apple instructions
5. Erase your device! Erasing all content and settings will delete all the data from your device, including songs, videos, contacts, photos, calendar information, and any other data. All device settings are restored to their factory condition.
To remove all settings and information from your device, tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. For more information about this feature, see iOS: Understanding 'Erase All Content and Settings'.
6. Restore your device using a previous backup
Plug in your iPhone into your computer running your itunes
To restore your device using a previous backup, connect your device to iTunes. When your device appears in the source list, right-click your device and click "Restore from backup…". iTunes will ask you to choose the desired backup from the list provided and may also ask you to enter the security password.
Some Apple services (such as two-step verification for your Apple ID) require Find My iPhone to be turned on. After testing the issue, sign in to your iCloud account and enable Find My iPhone.
READ FIRST!!! VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE TO THIS POST. READ FIRST!!!
I love being surprised with a little WoW moment and the old Qantas 767 from Melbourne to Sydney last night did just that. The planeust have been over 15 years old with heavy monitors hanging from the isle ceiling every 15meters, but what I found in the front pocket of my economy seat wowed me: An iPad with a beautiful html5 / browser-based entertainment system that included the latest movies and TV shows. The iPad operated in flight mode, but through some WiFi magic the device enabled its plane internal server connection. The iPad was also protected by a safety case that included a speaker to probably make a loud sound if it is taken through some sensors build into the planes doors. Brilliant and probably cost Qantas heaps less than equipping the plane with new seats that have an entertainment system build in. Well done Qantas!
Appleinsider recently stated that Google might be ditching Android over its intellectual property issues. I find this a disturbing and shocking news as the iOS world surely needs a strong competitor in order to foster innovation moving forward. The article also states that Samsung might soon be launching its own mobile operating system on an open platform which is very interesting as Samsung devices seem to be gaining momentum worldwide. I cannot wait to find out what Google's plans are for Chromecast, but it looks as if the platform will be more than a broadcasting and web-TV solution... Stay tuned...
Bjorn Behrendt is a serial entrepreneur with an extensive knowledge about online retail, payments and mobile commerce.