IBM has struck a deal with Visa which will give all of Big Blue's Watson IoT platform customers access to the card giant's payment services, potentially turning billions of cars, fridges, sneakers and other connected devices into points of sale.
To push their shared "vision" of embedding payments into any device, the partners will offer IBM Watson IoT clients the chance to tap the Visa Token Service, which replaces sensitive payment account information found on cards with a unique digital identifier.
This could see payments and commerce supported on a huge chunk of the 20 billion connected devices estimated to be in the global economy by 2020.
One area of particular promise is connected cars. This week, Jaguar unveiled technology that means owners can use their car’s touchscreen to pay for fuel at Shell service stations in the UK using PayPal or Apple Pay.
IBM envisions many other potential benefits, such as the Watson IoT platform alerting a driver when their car's warranty or certification is about to expire or if specific car parts need replacing. With this information, the driver could order parts with the push of a button, or schedule a service appointment.
For its part, Visa gives the example of sneakers with a chip that proactively sends an alert to a runner's fitness tracker at the end of each run, letting them know how many miles have been logged in the current pair and then reminds them when its time to buy replacements before placing the order from a preferred retailer using a preferred Visa card.
Jim McCarthy, EVP, innovation and strategic partnerships, Visa, says: "The Internet of Things is not only driving a more connected world, it's changing the way we live, shop and pay, by moving data and the point-of-sale to wherever the consumer wants it to be.
"With the power of Watson's cognitive technologies and IBM's leadership in IoT and security, they are the ideal partner to help us deliver secure payments to 'virtually anywhere' and on the enormous scale of the IoT."