The largest mobile trade show of the year, the Mobile World Congress, is well underway in Barcelona with tens of thousands of visitors from 200 countries enjoying the wares and inventions on display.
As always the environment is alive with innovation. Technology giants like Samsung and Facebook are setting the scene with trends that will likely dominate the market in 2016. There are many eye-catching products on show with both new and established players striving to showcase their creations. This cradle of mobile technology now nurtures development way beyond the mobile itself, a clear indication of the far reach mobile now has into daily life.
For example, Virtual Reality (VR) has been one of the most intriguing discussion points at the conference so far, with many outfits launching new products to the field. Samsung showcased its VR device, powered by Facebook’s Oculus Rift technology, with the help of Mark Zuckerberg, infamous creator of the social platform. Those lucky enough to get a seat at the event were gladly surprised to find an individual VR headset awaiting them, and becoming some of the first to experience the technology. HTC and Valve also launched a more expensive VR headset, called Vive, whilst both Samsung and Nokia launched VR cameras designed to allow users to create their own VR content.
Another big talking point at the event is the latest generation of LG’s flagship smartphone, which has undergone a complete transformation. The G5 has a removable bottom that creates an innovative expansion slot that has yet to be seen on a phone, supporting a number of accessories to improve customer experience, such as better audio and camera.
As few as 15 years ago, mobile phones themselves were the object of much curiosity; mysterious bulky objects that allowed us to speak with someone on the other side of the world. Today, mobile devices out-number people. GSMA’s latest statistics stated the number of mobile devices at 7.7bn and the human population at 7.3bn. Smartphones are the key for connectivity and ownership rates are increasing exponentially and currently there are 2.6bn which is set to increase to 6.1bn by 2020.
This technology impacts every aspect of human life, and payment is no exception. People can now use their mobile devices to shop online, check bank balances, manage multiple bank accounts and pay bills. Mobile will also soon play a key role in the much-anticipated Internet of Things (IoT) evolution. As human beings begin to manage commodity purchases via their home appliances, and even manage household utility usage such as central heating and laundry remotely, mobile will become the hand held control pad.
As this IoT march progresses, authentication is also taking the lead in mobile security. Strong authentication has become a basic requirement for all payments transactions and new ID technology, such as biometrics and voice recognition, have been integrated to mobile devices. For instance, MasterCard has recently revealed that it would accept selfie photos and fingerprints in addition to passwords when verifying IDs for online payments. Visa, on the other hand, announced at the event that it is working on expanding its Visa Europe Payment Tokenisation Service (VEPTS) to enable frictionless payments across mobile devices for banks, technology companies and other players in the industry.
So far from the event, the most inspiring thing has been the obvious hunger for continued investment, both financial and creatively, in the development of the mobile channel. Be this embedded in handset technology or further reaching to the connected world around us. As a business solely rooted in its belief in the power of the mobile to deliver enhanced consumer experience coupled with enhanced security via PIN authentication, we have been in our element. The MYPINPAD team is already participating in the race to solve security issues in the fragmented digital channel and we look forward to continuing to drive this wholly necessary innovation between now and Mobile World Congress 2017.