What If Every Digital Sign Could Be a Payment Terminal?

February 28, 2017 by Dave Haynes

It’s a very long way from here to there, but IBM and Visa are touting technology and a vision that could turn pretty much any connected device – like digital signs – into secure payment terminals.

As IBM explains it:

The collaboration brings together IBM’s Watson IoT platform and cognitive capabilities, with Visa’s global payments services that are used by more than 3 billion consumers globally … IBM and Visa share a vision and commitment to embed payments and commerce into any device – from a watch, to a ring, an appliance or a car. Under this collaboration, companies can infuse secure payments across their entire product lines using the Visa Token Service, a new security technology that replaces sensitive payment account information found on payment cards with a unique digital identifier, via IBM’s Watson IoT platform. As a result, IBM and Visa could support payments and commerce on many of the 20 billion connected devices estimated to be in the global economy by 2020.

“IoT is literally changing the world around us, whether it’s allowing businesses to achieve unimaginable levels of efficiency or enabling a washing machine to ensure we never run out of detergent. And behind this transformation are companies like Visa and technologies like IBM’s Watson IoT platform,” says Harriet Green, general manager, IBM Watson IoT. “This combination of IBM’s industry leading IoT technologies with Visa payment services, signifies the next defining moment in commerce by allowing payments on any connected object, with new levels of simplicity and convenience for everyone.”

IBM and Visa give the example of what would be possible with a connected car, of which there may be almost 400 million within four years.

“As the car ecosystem connects to the Watson IoT Platform, a driver would be alerted when the car’s warranty or certification is about to expire or if specific car parts need replacing. With this information, the driver can order parts with the push of a button, or schedule a service appointment at their preferred local garage. The driver could even pay for gas through a direct interaction between the car and the gas pump.”

“Similarly, with a fitness device, an avid runner with a wireless running chip, could receive a digital alert when it’s time to replace her running shoes, including a recommendation of the best model, at the best price, from a preferred retailer. Additional relevant and tailored recommendations could be offered, including nutrition and equipment recommendations, based on individual performance, local climates and shopping preferences.”

The Visa Token Service uses digital identifiers instead of the sensitive account stuff found on credit cards, notably the number, expiration date and security code. That means payment is done without exposing actual account details. The Token Service is accessible through a network of token service providers (TSPs) as part of a Visa Ready partnership program.

The vast majority of this is over my head, but what’s pretty obvious is that there are millions, already, of connected screens out there. Many are out of reach, so never mind those, but many others are interactive and therefore within reach. If you could look up something, or discover something, and order and pay for it on the spot through just an integrated software application, without needing transactional hardware, that’s pretty interesting.

Hat Tip to Jeremy Lockhorn for flagging this story …



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