Apple and the unattended opportunity

Written by on February 3, 2015 in BillingViews, Opinion with 0 Comments

contentSometimes a press release or news story makes you pause. Normally, it makes you trash it, occasionally it gets your attention. Very occasionally you go back to the trash, dig it out and re-read it. The story in question was about Apple Pay and a whole new tranche of ‘touch points.’

TCF Bank and Western Union were announcing Apple Pay integration with their businesses. Not very surprising and the reaction was more ‘when are they launching anything in Europe, or anywhere outside the US,’ rather than ‘that’s clever and/or interesting.’

The reason the story was dug from the digital compost of the trash bin was because of the third company that was announcing the roll out of Apple Pay to 200,000 outlets. We had not heard of the company, called USA Technologies (so it must have been going some time). What caught our attention, after the event, was that USA Technologies is a ‘provider of wireless, cashless payment and M2M/IoT solutions for small-ticket, self-service retailing industries.’

So, Apple is pushing for a foothold in the IoT arena?

It took a little time to realise that the market they are sewing up is the kiosk market. Every station, airport, bus station has self service kiosks that sell you fizzy drinks and snacks. And, when you think about it, never, ever, do you have the right coins to get said fizzy drinks or snacks.

So now you just show the machine your phone.

It is a clever move by Apple. As usual. It is particularly clever because USA Technologies counts Coca Cola and other huge brands amongst its bigger clients.

We tend to be a little cynical about the IoT market. We think that, right now, the attitude is ‘if it can be connected, let’s connect it.’ But we are beginning to see some applications that make complete sense, such as the intelligent (see: common sense) wearables for children. We also tend to hear the words Internet of Things and think ‘healthcare,’ or ‘automotive,’ or ‘smart cities.’ But there are a host of devices that it makes complete sense to quietly connect. Kiosks, parking meters, garbage bins even would all function better and people would enjoy more, if they could go on being left unattended.

An unattended opportunity, with an open door. Clever.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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