The Evolution of Connectivity — Indue CEO Manuel Garcia

We’re more connected than ever, but mobile technology is only just getting started, according to key discussions at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona earlier this year.

Indue CEO Manuel Garcia was part of the global conversation about the future of mobile technology and payments and now shares the top 5 trends in connectivity, exploring what it means to individuals and businesses.

1. Smartphones are at the centre of everything we do

With 89% of Australians owning a smartphone, according to the 2014 Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index (AMPLI), they are fast becoming the centre of our lives.

The same survey found that around 30% of respondents used their mobile phone while in bed and when watching TV, while 39% always used their phone on public transport. More than a third of respondents only have a mobile phone and no landline.

The real evolution of mobile use is how they are rapidly becoming the centre of how we control all the technology and devices we use in our life.

Smartphones are replacing wallets, light switches and keys. They can be used to control our whitegoods, and entertainment systems. We can even wear them to monitor our activity or inactivity.

As smartphones continue to evolve with larger screens, more power and speed, they’re being used increasingly more for tasks usually carried out on a computer.

2. Being connected in our car

Consumers are expecting to be better connected than ever before, regardless of their location. In-built connectivity in cars is a growing requirement, with car manufacturers reporting that their consumers expect the same level of connectivity in their vehicle, as they would get at home.

Research undertaken by General Motors (GM) in the United States indicated that their customers were willing to wait for their new car until it was connected. GM has been rolling out technology across its vehicles with a Wi-Fi hotspot as the main feature, and the ability to pair up to seven wireless devices.

A 2014 study by telecommunications provider Telefonica found that 50% of consumers considered connected features crucial to their next car purchase.
The study found that in-built car connectivity, the ability to plug in a smartphones, as well as increased safety, early warning systems and smarter navigation are so important, they are now deal breakers when it comes to car sales.

3. Mobile payments

Connectivity is enabling businesses to better meet the needs of customers — the better this connectivity works, the more efficient and productive a business can be. A key trend benefitting businesses and consumers is the evolution of mobile payments.

Indue is already working with clients to unlock and explore the possibilities of contactless technology that will give our clients a competitive edge to attract and retain customers.

Samsung is working with financial institutions to make their Samsung Pay technology (launched at the MWC) relevant for an Australian audience. Commonwealth Bank and Westpac allow users to set up their phone as a virtual credit card.

Apple’s contactless payment system arrived on Australian shores on November 19, though only for American Express customers at this stage. The system allows users to pay for purchases ‘tap and go’ style with their phone (iPhone 6) or Apple Watch. Cards from Visa or MasterCard are expected to be supported at some point in the future.

Right across the board we’re seeing more technology companies obtain Visa/MasterCard licences.

Security and privacy fears remain the biggest hurdle for widespread adoption. Tokenisation technology hopes to address these concerns, with Visa working on an Australian rollout of a localised tokenisation service.

Tokenisation is believed to be more secure than magnetic stripes because credit card data is not held by the smartphone but instead relies on tokenisation, where credit card numbers and expiry dates are replaced by unique 16-digit tokens. If the phone is stolen, the token can be cancelled and another issued, with the account number remaining intact and the token cannot be transferred to another device or computer.

4. Connectivity and health

Mobile connectivity is going to serve Australia’s ageing population and wider community across a range of health issues.

Mobile Health is revolutionising the health and care sector with experts claiming it will be the “biggest shakeup” in medical history.

Dr Eric Topol explains in his book, ‘The Patient Will See You Now’ how smartphones, equipped with the right apps and connected to sensors could replace the need for doctor visits. Digtial monitors can collect data on everything from blood pressure to brain waves. There are also apps for smartphones that claim to perform heart checks, eye tests and even screen for infectious diseases.

5. Advances in smartphone technology

Significant advances in mobile device technology are also making us more connected. Rumours suggest that Samsung are already testing a touchscreen smartphone with a foldable display that could be released as early as 2016. And Samsung are not the only providers developing foldable technology.

Another major advance is self-charging phone technology that can prolong or charge a mobile battery from something as simple as movement, voice vibrations or screen tapping.

The next phase of the evolution in digital data and mobile technology will unlock and reveal what’s possible in mobile payments — with benefits to businesses beyond banking, such as retail, electricity and water utilities, public transport, education and health.

For more insights from the Mobile World Congress, click here.

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