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by Sirpa Nordlund
Executive Director at Mobey Forum
Following the success of Mobey Forum’s MobeyDay 2012, we were delighted to bring our annual event to Barcelona once again this year. On 11 June at CaixaForum, MobeyDay 2013 brought together senior executives from banks, handset manufacturers, vendors, analysts (and others) to discuss the future of the mobile financial services (MFS) ecosystem, focusing, this year, on monetisation. Alas, it is impossible for me to report all of the valuable discussions from the day but I will endeavour to recount some of the key arguments that resonated with me.
Ron van Wezel, Chairman of the Mobey Forum Board of Directors and Head of Emerging Payment Streams at Deutsche Bank opened the day for the 200+ attendees from around the world, all of whom had, by that time, fought through the disruption caused by the French air control strike in order to attend. Ron briefly introduced delegates to the new Mobey Forum logo and website before going on to discuss the association’s two latest white papers; focusing on NFC security and defining industry terminology. Ron’s presentation came as a warning to the industry: MFS is neither a hobby nor a special interest. Driving MFS forward requires hard work, dedication, a clear strategy and a real understanding of monetisation. Banks must put the right people in charge; people with a business focus who are capable of developing valuable, consumer oriented services.
The first keynote of the day came from Dave Birch, Global Ambassador at Consult Hyperion. With an initially shocking take on the future of mobile wallets, Dave offered the advice that banks should not bring forward their own mobile wallets. Instead, Dave contended that an ‘umbrella’ style wallet, borne out of collaboration and mutually beneficial business models, will deliver a stronger, consumer-centric ecosystem. Opening APIs to developers (with security as paramount, of course) will get the ball rolling on the road to more valuable mobile wallets for consumers, banks and partners.
At 10am Samee Zafar, Director at Edgar, Dunn & Co, presented and chaired a panel session (involving HP, PKO Bank Polski, VocaLink and Barclays Bank Spain) assessing the parties that will drive mobile wallets forward. The banking industry is seeing a great deal of movement in this area from online brands such as PayPal and Google and therefore needs to act now to mitigate the risk of these players taking over the front line for consumer personal finance provision, confining banks to a back-end processing only role. The discussion urged collaboration between banks and MNOs. Banks have the legacy of risk management that the networks do not and MNOs are well placed in the industry to bring solutions direct to consumer’s devices. Were they to combine forces, the two stakeholder groups could deliver a strong business case, however much work still needs to be done to establish these relationships.
Throughout the day, the audience was presented with two case studies. The first was from PKO Bank Polski, focusing on the success of its IKO project, which has brought forward the successful deployment of a mobile payments system and a local mobile payments standard. The presentation highlighted Poland as one of the leading countries in MFS due to positive consumer attitudes and modern bank infrastructures; its work has gone a long way to confirming mobile banking and payments as the de facto medium moving forward. The second case study of the day came from Amir Tabakovic, Mobey Forum Board member and Head of Market Development at PostFinance. Amir focussed on the idea of the bank as a retailer, opening up new revenue streams through MFS. The case study analysed the ability to purchase iTunes gift cards directly within the PostFinance mobile app, offering tangible benefits for all parties. It is th kind of monetisation strategy that will help banks justify the development of innovative MFS to their boards.
Next, David Urbano, Director of Mobile Channel and Digital Networks from our hosts, CaixaBank took to the stage to assess the use of social media for enhancing the mobile banking experience. David stated that consumers like to be up-to-date, especially when it comes to personal finance, galvanising CaixaBank to begin leveraging social media and SMS to ensure its customers are in the know. This is a clever piece of risk management as consumers are rarely separated from their mobile devices and will immediately notice an erroneous transaction where previously it could be a week before the missing funds were noticed online. Schemes like this will allay consumer fears, driving adoption and generating greater revenues.
Before lunch Julian Wilson, Strategic Alliances Director at FreedomPay took to the stage to discuss big data in advance of a panel session chaired by Dave Birch of Consult Hyperion. The combined discussion provided an overall brief on big data for banks, stating that consumers are largely unconcerned with bank’s knowledge. As a trusted entity, banks are in a position to utilise this data to make consumer’s lives easier by offering useful tailored services and auto-completing as much information as possible in application forms, for example. Remember, the consumer is king and, for them, convenience is key.
After lunch, talk turned to MPOS. Ignacio Garcia, Managing Director of iZettle Spain opened the discussion before joining myself (as chair) along with SCCP Group and Monitise in a panel discussion on the topic. The talk centred on utilising mPOS to maximise sales. The process of buying is changing, as is the retailer experience. This is amply demonstrated by innovations such as the deployment of a ‘mobile’ sales team in-store which can process payment on the shop floor, catching consumers before they get cold feet in the queue, shedding impulse items from baskets.
Value added services (VAS)
The final panel session of the day saw Chair Zilvinas Bareisis, Senior Analyst at Celent, joined by participants from ING, Clear2Pay, Banco Sabadell and PostFinance to discuss VAS. The panel concluded that banks are in a strong position to deliver VAS and if they do not move into this area they risk losing revenue, relationships and relevance. Streamlining of multiple value tokens (e.g. money, miles and reward points) into one card / mobile wallet was one example, enabling consumers to manage multiple aspects of their lives conveniently and easily. Services must be valuable to consumers, or else the ‘V’ of VAS is lost and banks will lose credibility.
The future of digital money
Our final presentation focused on the future of digital money with Tomasz Smilowicz, Managing Director and Global Head of Mobile Solutions at Citi. I listened to Tomasz’s assessment of the future of emerging markets with particular interest. Technology is no longer an inhibitor and, according to the GSMA, there are over 150 mobile money services aimed at the unbanked worldwide and there were 224 million transactions worth $4.6 billion during June 2012 alone. In the long term, Tomasz sees the model for emerging markets shifting from basic transactions to more complex tailored services driven by data. Watch this space.
We, Mobey Forum, would like to thank all of the speakers, our hosts CaixaBank, our lead sponsor Vocalink, corporate sponsors Clear2Pay, HP, Monitise and Swiff, and of course all of the delegates that attended for making the day such a success. On a personal note, I also enjoyed the impromptu post-conference networking event that took place in Barcelona airport as many of us waited for our delayed flights! Keep an eye on our website for details of next year’s event – we look forward to seeing you there.
Were you at MobeyDay? Let us know what you took away from the discussion in the comments box below.