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Taking the cards out of Cartes and going mobile

A trip to Paris is always a gastronomic experience and the opening of the Cartes trade show today was no different. On the night before the event opened, Google unveiled ‘Gingerbread’ - the latest version of the Android operating system, with NFC technology being one of the headline features. As ever, Google is leading the drive to encourage mass adoption of new, innovative technology and its commitment to include an NFC reader in Android means that a significant barrier to the mass adoption of NFC has potentially been removed.

There are many applications for NFC but here at Cartes, with so many financial institutions and banking technology vendors present, the focus is certainly on NFC to support a mobile wallet. Cards as we know them are a dying breed, even at Cartes!

The reaction to the Google news on the trade show floor and in the mobile stream of workshops was that banks are now in a far stronger position to make their mobile strategy a reality. With hardware barriers being removed, banks can more closely review the many opportunities for mobile to support their existing service and transaction channels.

What was interesting, however, was the lack of discussion around consumer demand. Indeed, with all of the hype about how Google’s announcement will impact NFC roll out, there is a danger that in the delivery of these innovative mobile financial services, the consumer is forgotten.

Innovation will only progress at the rate of the consumer majority. Technology is undoubtedly essential to enhance the adoption of mobile applications in financial services but at Cartes, the spotlight on technology was almost at the expense of valuable discussions about the end user. For innovations like NFC to make a real impact on the banking market, the industry must start to consider consumer demand so that technology is deployed to provide the best value-add.  The challenge is therefore set for service providers to help bridge this gap and connect banks to their customers through value-added capabilities.

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