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IoT, Blockchain, Predictive Analytics and Voice First: 2017 Payments Predictions

Internet of Things (IoT): Every connected device will enable commerce.
This was seen as a fantasy only two years ago. Think about Amazon’s “Dash” button and how easy it is to re-order items. Or, think of ordering pizza using an emoji on Twitter with Domino’s Pizza. These two scenarios were laughed at several years ago. Although they are not mainstream today, one day they will be as familiar as using a credit card. The reason? The number of connected devices is 10 billion today, in 2020 there will be 50 billion. Once radical ideas of self-ordering refrigerators are no longer science fiction. They are in the early adopter stage of the innovation life cycle and will be mainstream soon. I may be at risk of having another “millennial moment” like last year as the early indications from the Consumer Electronics Show demonstrate IoT is here. The item not widely discussed is the fraud implication and how easy it is to hack these devices and how consumers may not notice several small <$5 charges.

Blockchain: The hype is over
The twist with blockchain is that it has reached peak hype in financial services and the focus will be on retailers and the supply chain. I think we will see many VCs write down their investment or exit the space and the classic “trough of disillusionment” will take place. Late in 2017 we will see practical deployments of blockchain technology in financial services. For retailers this is not just an alternative payment in the form of virtual currency Bitcoin, its impact touches many aspects of retailing. It is widely talked about solving complex supply chain issues and the tracking of goods to ensure they are not stolen or counterfeit. Consumers will be able to understand exactly where their food comes from (e.g. responsibly sourced fish or organic fruit) and retailers will be able to demonstrate the authenticity of high-value goods.

Predictive Analytics: Needed to combat new challenges
With the increase in connected devices, coupled with an increasingly complex payments ecosystem, new challenges arise. It’s not uncommon for consumers to wave their phone to buy a cup of coffee, use one click to purchase clothing at an online retailer or quickly split a bar tab.  Enter analytics. Fraudsters sense opportunity in changing and dynamic times. Merchants must implement a multi-faceted approach to fraud detection and fraud prevention — and that means integrating predictive analytics into the traditional rules-based mix for a blended and balanced capability.  Using “big data” predictive analytics automatically sift through huge quantities of financial and non-financial data to quickly and efficiently uncover anomalous patterns indicative of fraud — many of which may go undetected by rules-only-based systems or certainly by human analysts alone. 

Voice First Interface: Delivered by banks
With the growth in new voice command technologies (e.g. Amazon Echo/Alexa and Apple’s Siri) people are becoming more comfortable talking to technology. Sadly, my young children who can’t read or write can search YouTube through visuals and importantly through voice command for their favorite shows. This is the future. When I ask Siri to show me my bank balance she responds with “You can find that on your banking app, would you like to open it?” How long until the voice command is integrated within the banking and payment apps. “Siri, send my kids $20.” Or “Alexa, what’s my bank balance?”

SaaS: The footprint continues
“Where did SaaS go?” may ask. The answer is, nowhere! I think SaaS is huge and getting bigger, but it here, now and not much of a prediction. I would love to start a conversation about IoT, the reality of blockchain, fraud analytics and voice first interfaces.

Wishing you a happy and successful 2017.

Payments Expert

ACI Worldwide powers electronic payments for financial institutions, retailers and processors around the world with its broad and integrated suite of electronic payment software.