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MWC 2012 - the year that payments take centre stage

It is that time of the year again.  Next week will see more than 60,000 telecoms professionals, journalists and bloggers descend on Barcelona for Mobile World Congress.  Plenty has already been written about this now-legendary four day event, but with just three days before the buzz begins, I wanted to take this opportunity to think about what excitement the next week will hold. 

Last week, network firm, Cisco, suggested that mobile devices will soon outnumber humans, with 10 billion mobiles to just 7 billion people. The fact is, smartphones have become an integral part of our lives.  From Google Maps, to Starbucks Apps, there really is now an app for every one of your daily needs. In fact, one of the few areas of our lives that is not yet streamlined by mobile technology is our finances.

This is why MWC 2012 will undoubtedly be the year that mobile payments come to the forefront.  Indeed, one of the top keynotes is ‘Mobile Money: NFC Services Gain Momentum’.  Whether it’s payments by text or NFC capabilities, it is clear that mobile payments are having their moment. 

Yet the opportunities that mobile payments present are still held back by difficulties in developing the necessary alliances between mobile operators and the banks. 

At the moment  payment innovation is a priority for so many different industries – banks, retailers, transport, telecoms – and everyone wants a slice of the cashless payments pie. Mobile World Congress has the potential to be the catalyst that reignites the process of collaboration and innovation needed for mobile payments to take off.

I’m excited for all that the week ahead will bring, and look forward to blogging about all the themes and people I meet during my time at MWC.  



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