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Pat Carroll


Pat Carroll - ValidSoft

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Innovation in Financial Services

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

What can Project Oscar learn from Bradley Wiggins?

11 September 2012  |  4662 views  |  2

Project Oscar, the mobile wallet grouping between Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere, has had the go ahead from the European Commission to develop a single mobile wallet platform hosting cards, coupons and transactional information on the SIM card.

If you think about it, the race for dominance in mobile wallets is rather like the Tour de France, or another of Bradley Wiggins' escapades. For a long time we've had a number of groups jostling for position - mobile network operators (MNOs), those from the financial services industry, and retailers. A lead group has pulled away from the peloton. The MNOs have taken the lead.

So what does this mean? Do we now have a winner in the battle over mobile wallets in Europe?

First, although good news for the development of mobile wallets, the news around Project Oscar really only represents a gesture of intent. And as any pro cyclist can testify, the first breakaway never guarantees a win. In fact, sometimes it's hard to be out in front; you've set yourself a target and, to a certain extent, many people are hoping you'll fall off your bicycle. One of the challenges of being out front is that you're a test case in many respects. If something's going to go wrong, the likelihood is that it will happen to you. In the race to the mobile wallet, security is going to be important.  Often with emerging technologies, the urgency of getting product to market is not aligned with a corresponding urgency for risk-management. But with the mobile wallet, security needs to be paramount in whatever development happens next, as consumer expectations are high. Any perceived or actual failure in this area could be to Project Oscar's detriment.

The second impact of this breakaway, as any lead pack will tell you, is that it will spur on the followers and we may see more new developments in this area as a result.

This is not a short race. The way to a European standard for the mobile wallet is a test of endurance rather than a sprint. The opportunities that will be generated through the development of mobile wallets are immense and it's not just a case of racing headlong in pursuit of quick market share. Just ask Wiggo.


Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 12 September, 2012, 13:49

To carry on your analogies.  The UK MNOs may think they took a lead and see no-one ahead.  Maybe its because the real leader is so far ahead.  When they see light in the proverbial tunnel - it could just be the Google train coming towards them :)

Seems to me that Oscar will specify SIM/SE resident credentials, which is what GW had to move from to get the support of other bank issuers.  So yes, Oscar better get the security and TSM arrangements right.


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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 17 September, 2012, 14:20

I am not at all certain the Google Train is the light  ahead.... I think the light ahead is a man with a torch carrying more work.... From what i have seen so far the Google train has not yet left its station...  Now that Google has dispensed with its Prepaid MasterCard other FI's are now buying train tickets, to cover themselves if Googwal-train ever does get up a head of steam....   I dont think project Oscar has to worry about Googwallet... they need to worry if consumers will ever accept that Mobile Payments are secure enough to trust.... 

I wonder... when Wiggo goes out for a bike ride, does he take his phone? if so, does he (Like Me) Slip a £10.00 note between the cover and the mobile... I do this so that if my wife calls when i am out for a ride - i can stop, take out my Tenner and buy the newspaper/bread/whatever....  So far have not needed to do so... I am not convinced that i need NFC on my mobile (Yet)  it will come, but not at the speed of an oncoming train

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Throughout his career, Pat has been at the forefront of industry thinking, representing organisations on industry bodies and leading participation in industry initiatives. At ValidSoft, he leads the R...

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