Mobile Payments: Why I.T. Entrepreneurs Gotta Care

At first, Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems don't seem to offer much opportunity outside of big IT companies (Apple, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, etc.) and traditional retailers. But take a closer look and you'll see how the mobile payment evolution (not revolution) could benefit I.T. entrepreneurs in multiple markets.

Consider this potential reality: The U.S. mobile payments market will grow from $52 billion in 2014 to $142 billion by 2019, Forrester Research predicts. What will drive mobile payment adoption? Forrester points to three reasons:

  1. Smartphones will become the universal mobile payment option -- thanks to technologies like Apple Pay in iPhones.
  2. Remote mobile payment -- perhaps using your smartphone to buy and pay for online store merchandise -- will remain a hot trend.
  3. Just about all of the major mobile payment platforms -- PayPal, Softcard, CurrentC, etc. -- are adjusting their strategies to keep pace with or leapfrog Apple Pay's ease of use and innovative, secure design.

Example Application

So where do I.T. entrepreneurs fit into the mobile payment world? One obvious answer involves Big Data, beacon and sensor-based applications. Let's assume you run a retail store.

  • Imagine if you could track shoppers as they move about your floor space -- how much time they spend in each aisle, what items they focus on, what they avoid. Sensor and beacon technologies can handle that for you.
  • Next, you want to track what each customer actually buys. That's where Apple Pay and other mobile payment technologies tied to customer smartphones enters the picture.
  • Finally, you want to examine all of that data together -- how customers navigate your store, where they spend their time and what they actually wind up buying? That's a Big Data application that makes sense of your beacon- and mobile-payments-based data.

I've got a friend (don't we all?...) working on that application scenario right now. He thinks Mobile Payment technology is the final piece of the puzzle. And thanks to Apple Pay along with motivated rivals, that final piece seems to be a reality for more and more mobile retail app developers...

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