Out with the old and in with the new. Google has released version 2.0 of their Google Wallet service which allows a prepaid credit card of your choice to be stored in a completely secure environment. The prepaid card simply funds the purchase when a mobile payment is made. This system is an improvement over previous version 1.0 which needed card issuers to become involved in provisioning the payment cards to Google Wallet.
In terms of security Google has gone down a different path regarding their technical approach: the cards are now stored on Google’s impeccably secure servers instead of on the secure storage area provided in all smart phone devices. A virtual card number is still stored there to help facilitate the purchase. Google then charges your selected card immediately thereafter. This new version actually speeds up the integration process for banks, enabling them to add their cards to the Wallet in literally weeks. This new methodology may pave the way for a better solution to support all credit and debit cards.
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Google has also made it much easier to disable your mobile wallet in cases of theft or loss of the phone. With a simple visit to the “Devices” section in your online wallet you can find the phone that you want disabled and Google Wallet will then not authorize any transactions until you effectively change the settings.
The first important bit of news is that Apple’s foray into the mobile payments world will begin this fall with the release of their Passbook software. We mentioned two weeks ago that Passbook would be delayed, however it was recently announced that it would appear in their next iOS as an application.
The second bit of news concerns AuthenTec’s technology, which facilitates software for fingerprint/identity purposes. Apple has made an offer for $356 million dollars to purchase the sensor chip licenses from AuthenTec, which will presumably be used for fingerprint validation for mobile payments in the upcoming Passbook app.
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This is an obvious shot across the bow to Samsung and Google, who could very possibly counter-offer the bid made by Apple for ownership of Authentec. Any firm with reliable technology related to mobile payments will be courting big players like Apple and such in near future.
The NFC (near field communication) software and POS systems company ViVOtech is reported to be shutting down its operations, despite securing nearly $100 million in funding over the past ten years. However CEO Mick Mullagh says otherwise:
“ViVOtech’s business fundamentals are strong and orders and contracts are building in both its reader and software businesses. Over the last six months the company has been executing a strategy to divest its reader business to a qualified buyer. This sale has moved slower than anticipated. ViVOtech has not ceased operations but is in the process of restructuring operations and has reduced its team to a smaller group with the goals of maintaining customer relationship and core contract work, and to address our supplier relationships and commitments, as the company completes plans to divest the reader business and focus on the Software Business. ViVOtech is in dialog with its customers and suppliers on the current situation but will be making no other public statements”.
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ViVOtech develop POS systems and NFC products such as smart posters, contactless readers, writers, and various other software programs. They have also partnered with some of the biggest players in the industry like Google (Google Wallet) and Isis in an NFC joint venture between the largest US mobile companies Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
This apparent closure comes as an unexpected turn of events, considering the staggering numbers (one million terminals shipped, 80% of the market share for NFC products in the US and double digit millions in sales) and the heavy weight brands that are using their array of products (McDonald’s, Whole Foods and Home Depot).
The questions raised on how this could have happened are abundant. The current consensus is that ViVOtech perhaps hit the market at a stage before NSF technology exceeded market expectations or that their partners VeriFone dropped the relationship in favor of pushing their own reader. Either way, one thing is for sure; the industry players are baffled by this unexpected news.
Context taken from: http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/27/report-google-nfc-partner-vivotech-shutting-down-operations/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
Disclosing a detailed earnings overview on February 1st, 2012, well in advanced of the much anticipated IPO, Facebook Inc. reported significant revenue from its payment business. Payment revenue for 2011 came in at $557 million, this being a drastic increase from the previous year takings of $106 million. The intention behind publicizing this information is to inform potential investors about the size, scope, and mechanics on how Facebook generates revenue. This document also points to Facebook’s overall payment strategy as well as their goals in continuing to grow in this segment.
Most of Facebook’s revenue is generated through advertising sales and social gaming. Towards the end of 2010, they made own proprietary payment engine, “Facebook Payments”, mandatory for use and saw revenues grow exponentially as a result. All gaming platforms that accept payments are required to use Facebook Payments to process transactions. This platform is multifaceted and can accept a wide array of payment sources such as debit and credit card, PayPal, mobile and gift cards.
As the company continues to develop its platform and services, the current rise in application use and demand will see Facebook carve out its own niche in this market. Focus will be put on developing social applications to integrate into the existing platform, encouraging a diverse assortment of application types and uses, with those that are not free to be paid for using the Facebook Payment processing system, further increasing revenue potential.
With the world continuing to migrate online, it is up to powerful social networking websites such as Facebook to capitalize on the economic prospects within their products, lest they miss out on a chance to grow their business over time.
It’s understandable that smaller businesses may be overwhelmed on how to utilize social media to capture the essence of designing and implementing content for these platforms and to capitalize on this low-cost marketing initiative.
Here a few simple steps that will start you in the right direction, and pave the way to savvy social media marketing for years to come.
Develop a cohesive plan: Like any project or business planning, detailed framework is necessary to keep your content organized, time appropriate, and platform appropriate. This plan will also allow you to focus on creating content that is more relevant to your consumers and social media blueprint.
Use social platforms independently: An effective technique that should not be overlooked is linking your content to all the various social media platforms. For example, a blog post on Tumblr can link to both Facebook and Twitter. Although this is a good start, each platform behaves and interacts with users differently. Your content needs to reflect this contrast in audience and social media channel.
Market research is your friend: You can seek out your target market by noting which pages users like and which blogs and tweets they follow/re-post. Posting content blindly in each platform can be exhaustive. Ease into it slowly, and tailor your marketing based on what generates the most response. The choice of platform and type of content becomes easier to select and develop once you’ve tapped into the attention of your consumers.
Measure, measure, measure: Analytics are powerful tools built into most social media platforms; they allow you to measure all kinds of data about your audience. The geographic location of your target market can be a powerful metric in your marketing.
Advertise: People need to find your social media pages and sites, begin this process by using services like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords; both are low cost and can grow your audience exponentially.
Consistency is king: Remain consistent with your content subject matter, tone, and timing of posts. Too much alternate material may confuse your audience. Define “character” traits, values and specific interests your target market is attuned to and always build your content using these same principals and influences.
Engage your users: Quality versus quantity. Indulge your audience; give them creative, thought-provoking yet easy-to-digest content and they will keep coming back while spreading the love of your brand.
Be smart about content: Sensational gossip will only provide an audience for a fleeting amount of time. Most groups of consumers form an interest in content that is relevant and interesting.
No matter how daunting it may seem, the operative rule is to ease into the process by starting with the go-to platforms of Facebook and Twitter. Take the time to look around, see what is happening within the various sectors of your market and fine-tune your content and messaging before the full blown launch. Good luck!
Shop.org, comScore Inc., and The Partnering Group teamed up to deliver a study that assessed the adoption of mobile technology and willingness of smartphone users to interact with various m-commerce platforms and promotions. It would seem this study was timely what with the rise of smartphone usage and its link to the increasing revenue generated from m-commerce platforms.
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The 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Consumer study revealed data that furthers the notion m-commerce is indeed on the rise and primarily driven by smartphone usage. The percent of total e-commerce dollars spent while using a mobile device was three times larger than that of the same period in 2010. Moreover, 33 percent of respondents indicated they would be willing to share location information with retailers when prompted through the various map functions on mobile sites or via check-in systems on platforms like Four Square. Vicki Cantrell, current executive director over at Shop.org added; “The biggest news is that smartphone and tablet e-commerce spend tripled from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011, you just can’t ignore these numbers”.
Cantrell concluded that the more important underlying trend is the current convergence of social and mobile worlds which, make it easier for retailers to use geo-location and custom tailored messaging to users.
The largest social media conference in Canada brings to light the many aspects of social media and more importantly how to capitalize on the various platforms to drive revenue. Focusing on four themes throughout the day, participants will hear from guest speakers on topics revolving around social gaming and how this market will surpass $2 billion in revenue in 2011, mobile platforms, and measuring social media campaign effectiveness and how to create revenue opportunities through content, apps and more.
Speaker’s range from Brian Carter, CEO of FanReach to Jim Hedger, acclaimed SEO specialist and attorney David M. Adler who specializes in intellectual property law. The full-day conference will largely focus on each of their presentations with a vendor workshop scheduled mid-day.
Produced by industry collaborators Mediabistro, Socialtimes and AllFacebook, the event will be held on January 27th, 2012 at St. Andrew’s Club & Conference Centre, kicking-off at 9am sharp. Early entry fee cost to participants is $249 CAD if booked on or before December 15th.
For more information and all conference info, including accommodation suggestions, please visit www.mediabistro.com/socialize.