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2016 (Mid) Year in Payments Review

What Stood Out So Far

Connected or Smart Devices – Whether it was Kristen Bell calling Dax Shephard to check on eggs, or Alec Baldwin talking to Alexa to order new socks, the connected world–powered by the Internet of Things–is rapidly growing around us. The idea of yelling out to a device in your home to inquire about the weather (or in Alec’s world, ordering those socks) is something that we have been growing more and more accustomed to. Whether it’s Alexa, or Microsoft’s Cortana, IBM’s Watson or Apple’s Siri, the AI world has rapidly gotten smarter and less weird in 2016, though the fear of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey is still very real…

Payment Wearables – Wearables have had an “ok” year so far; we are still waiting on the new Apple Watch to be announced (rumors have that showing up later this quarter), but the ‘star shining bright’ in this category is the payment-enabled wearable. Visa announced its payment ring for the athletes in Rio, allowing athletes to make purchases by “tapping” their ring at the POS, not requiring a smartphone or physical card to make their purchases. Dan Ring and I went back and forth on the simplicity of the solution to solve the issue of the soggy dollar on those warm summer beach days. Time will tell if it takes off, but the first half of the year has set the trajectory for wearables to continue their ascent.

Real Time Payments – What would a conversation on the first half be without touching on Real Time payments? It is literally impossible to go a day without reading something new from a real time initiative around the globe. With many national real time initiatives, and countless private real time offerings rolling out globally, it’s no surprise that the first half of 2016 saw so much news in this area. I will offer up a spoiler alert, similar to what we saw with Mobile for the past 10 years, Real Time will be a headline hog for the foreseeable future (or well through the 20’s at least…I hope flapper dresses, bowlers and big bands make a comeback!)

What’s still to come in 2016

Mobile Commerce – Last year, the shift from eCommerce to mCommerce was notable, and mCommerce will dominate headlines this holiday season. And as shoppers shift from traditional brick and mortar to mobile-first in their shopping preference, the expectations on the user experience front are high and the ability to seamlessly check out will be the focus of 2016.

Mobile Wallets – The “news” around mobile wallets has been nothing short of extensive, the rollouts and adoption have been anything but. As the second half of 2016 unfolds, I believe mobile wallets will gain the headlines for the adoption and usage, not just announcements around availability of, likely driven by Chase Pay, but also fueled by additional bank wallets hitting the street.

Medal Counts – What would a forward-looking piece on 2016 be without a projection of medals for this year’s Olympics? A safe call is the US leading the medal count, my out on the limb projections are Usain Bolt failing to defend his gold in the 100m, and the home country will win the soccer silver (that’s right, a European team will bring back the gold!)

Pokemon Go – Much like beanie babies and the first go around with Pokemon, the sensation of Pokemon Go will fade quite rapidly (my call is by the first day of school), but what will stay (for good this time) is Augmented Reality (AR). The fear that people won’t take to an enhanced reality all around them, which was the fear when Google Glass’s explorer program faded into the background last year, appears to be baseless. What throngs of people wandering around glued to their phones while hunting for creatures tells us is that we are in fact looking at a very ripe opportunity. 

So far so good in 2016, here’s to a fun and exciting second act. 

Head of Digital Banking Solutions

As the Head of Digital Banking Solutions, Mark works closely with financial institutions discussing, exploring, and examining market trends and key drivers in the evolving digital solutions space with a key focus on mobile, tablet and the future of wearable technology. Prior to moving into the sales organization Mark was Senior Product Marketing Manager for ACI's Digital Banking solutions. He was responsible for developing and executing product launch and go to market activities for the related product lines. Prior to joining ACI in 2012, Mark worked at Greenwich Associates as a Senior Project Director on their Custom Projects team. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lafayette College.  The future of Fintech and where the digital banking evolution will take us is at the heart of what Mark reads about, researches, discusses, promotes and debates. As a proud card carrying millennial, Mark's primary goal is to bring a fresh yet informed point of view to the discussion. It is truly an exciting time to be in the industry as everything down to the foundation of the financial society is being challenged by innovative individuals and start-ups alike. Mark looks forward to helping companies and banks alike navigate the disruptive environment they are in today towards a successful future.

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