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From Playing to Paying

By Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director Core Products • Visa Europe

February 27, 2017

From Playing to Paying: The Connected Life

Every year at this time, the great and the good of mobile technology gather in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC), the largest global event dedicated to that industry. This year marks the 10th anniversary since the launch of the iPhone, giving us the opportunity to stop and take stock of the changes that we’ve seen in the last decade while looking forward to a world where all gadgets can be controlled by your phone as well as connected directly to the internet.

In 2007, MWC had around 50,000 visitors and exhibitors and focused on celebrating the convergence of mobile tech with the gaming and entertainment industry. This year, the number attending the event is expected to exceed 100,000 from more than 200 countries, and has a theme of “The Connected Life”, demonstrating just how much these gadgets have evolved communication and entertainment into a “life sherpa”. We’ve moved from playing games on them to using these devices to organise our lives: arranging transportation, paying bills and calculating taxes, controlling the thermostat in our homes…

Critically, one of the capabilities central to so many of these activities is commerce. For mobile commerce to continue to grow today – and for the Internet of Things to succeed tomorrow – consumers need to know that their account data is secure both on their device and when stored with a merchant. This is why Visa has invested heavily in tokenisation technology, developing our token service as an easy, fast and secure way to remove the sensitivity from account details by replacing consumer account information with a digital identifier (token). This technology already supports mobile payments in 27 countries worldwide, including France, Ireland, Poland, Switzerland and the UK, with more than 1,300 financial institution partners. We’re working with our clients and partners to extend further the use of the technology – we’ll launch in seven more countries in Europe this year - and to new uses such as online payments where the account information kept on file by the merchant is tokenised for security.

The connected car is a prominent feature at this year’s MWC. This is an area we’ve been working on for some time now, demonstrating on our stand over the previous two years how integrating commerce with your car will make everyday activities such as paying for petrol and parking faster and easier. Other demonstrations in MWC’s Connected Life include the connected home and virtual reality, use cases which resonate strongly with us and are highlighted in the new Visa Innovation Center London which we launched last week.

The global collaboration recently announced between Visa and IBM has the potential to take many of the ideas we are seeing and bring them to life. Our shared vision is to securely embed payments and commerce into many of the 20 billion connected devices estimated to be in the global economy by 2020 . By making a network of Token Service Providers (TSPs) available, the Visa Ready programme provides wide accessibility to the use of the Visa Token Service, a key enabler in making this vision a reality. Consumers are adopting new technologies faster than ever and partnerships such as these are fundamental to meeting their demands at speed.

Later this week, we’ll share with you more about some of the thought-provoking demonstrations seen and presentations heard to give you our thoughts on what this means for consumers in the coming years.


i Gartner, IoT report, November 2015, http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3165317

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