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Authentication going to be more revolutionary than commerce transaction: CTIA panelist

SAN DIEGO ? As mobile merges with commerce, the consumer?s potential options for payment for both virtual and actual goods expands, according to panelists at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2011 conference.

During the ?Mcommerce Boardroom Session? panel, executive addressed the latest trends in mobile, in-store and social commerce. And, although marketers and consumers are becoming increasingly interested in mobile payments and mobile wallets, there is still something missing.

?We?re not talking about authentication,? said Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president and general manger of enterprise at Motorola, San Francisco. ?That?s the missing piece.

?To enable that I have to turn on my device, launch an app and type in a password,? she said. ?Right now it?s very clunky.?

The panel was moderated by Rich Nespola, CEO of TMNG Global, Kansas City, MI.

Room for improvement
According to Ms. Wyatt, marketers are still not there when it comes to the mobile wallet.

Although there are advancements in the space, there are things ? such as losing a device or it being stolen ? that will make users wary of keeping their credit card and other financial information on their handset. 

?Authentication and identity management are going to be more revolutionary than the commerce transaction itself,? Ms. Wyatt said.

Michael Shim, vice president of Groupon, San Francisco, said the company leverages mobile in different ways.

?When I think of mobile commerce, there?s a number of different ways Groupon leverages mobile,? Mr. Shim said. ?Mobile devices are some of the most personal devices you can have on you.

?Anything that we can do to connect our growing base of users with our growing base of merchants ? ultimately, that?s what we?re going to prioritize,? he said. ?We look at commerce as the space that we?re in, broadly speaking.?

According to Mr. Shim, when Groupon started to create its first mobile experiences, it was done with an emphasis on speed and to help facilitate transactions more quickly.

?The experience was to come to the app and see what the deals are,? Mr. Shim said. ?And because you?re logged in, it?s a fast process.

?That?s been very successful,? he said. ?That was the beginning of how we fully leveraged various mobile platforms.

?What we?ve done is spent time and focus on mobile.?

Mr. Shim said that Groupon is looking at ways to create a more seamless mobile experience.

?We launched a product called Groupon Now six months ago,? Mr. Shim said. ?Those are the types of things that we?re doing to move forward and bring these rich development experiences that mobile offers."

Tap to pay
According to Edward McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard, New York, companies such as Subway and Peet?s Coffee and Tea are proving that mobile commerce is on the rise.

Recently, Subway announced a new initiative that will let consumers pay for their meal by tapping a MasterCard PassPass-enabled device or card at the register.

The new tap and go payment readers will be implemented at more than 7,000 United States locations by the end of 2012. According to the company, the new payment readers will increase speed and convenience at the point-of-sale and MasterCard is one of the partners for Google Wallet.

Additionally, Peet?s Coffee and Tea is accepting Google Wallet payments and also letting consumers pay via MasterCard PassPass. The initiative marks Peet?s Coffee & Tea?s first major mobile deal.

?When you look at consumer behavior, what we?re in the midst of is a transition,? Mr. McLaughlin said.

According to Laura Chambers, head of mobile at PayPal, San Francisco, mobile commerce has advanced.

?When we started a few years ago, our evolutionary product was text-to-pay and it looks incredibly archaic now,? Ms. Chambers said.

?Obviously, the key driver is consumers ? they?re becoming more exploratory,? she said. ?On the consumer side, there are challenges ? especially with inertia and security.?

Fared Adib, vice president of development at Sprint agrees that consumers are an important piece of the mobile commerce puzzle.

?At the end of the day, they want simplicity,? Mr. Adib said. ?If that?s not there, it?s hard for us as carriers to translate that.?

There is a lot of movement in the emerging markets around mobile money and the mobile wallet-type scenario.

?I don?t care what the payment instrument is,? said Gregory Dunn, vice president of strategy at Sybase 360, Dublin, CA. ?I want it to be open for any payment instrument.? 

Final Take
Fared Adib, vice president of development at Sprint