Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mobile commerce professionals gather in New York City to attend “The Future of Mobile Commerce,” event hosted by DeSilva+Phillips and NYC Media Lab

“… We are a payment services company … we have a very good core business -- the charge card and credit card business … As we began to think about where commerce and the world may be going we realized that we needed a different strategic thinking about it …so we thought about how the world will begin to interact and so people will decide how they want to interact and they will choose based on a couple of things … convenience, security and the third one, value … When I think about convenience, if you are sitting at a computer or you may be walking around the street and we may push a deal for one of our merchants to you, you have a mobile phone because it is convenient for you to transact with that device … you may be somewhere and you have none of those things, but you have a fingerprint and that’s how I interact … so our philosophy as a payment company … we don’t pick either one, we have to let the customer choose how they interact with us. Mobile device is just a form factor.”
~~ Gilberg Ahye, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, American Express Company, on his company’s view on the future of mobile commerce as quoted during “The Future of Mobile Commerce,” event hosted by NYC Media Lab, July 23, 2013

A full house audience of professionals in Mobile Payments, Mobile Advertising & Marketing, E-commerce, Analytics, Development, Strategy and Product Management gathered at Lafayette Restaurant in New York City to attend “The Future of Mobile Commerce.”

Hosted by DeSilva+Phillips and NYC Media Lab, this annual invitation only event included a wealth of insights by business leader Gilbert E. Ahye, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, American Express Company. The event was moderated by Roger Neal, Founder and Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. Q&A was held after the session.


Not surprising, mobile has surpassed the personal computer in the U.S. all while the U.S. has invested billions of dollars in POS (Point-of-Sale) infrastructure. Ahye believes POS is going to take a very long time for the U.S. to adapt fully to NFS but eventually the credit card business will be replaced by mobile in the U.S.

Ahye also mentioned that since India and China have no infrastructures in place and did not have any substantial investments in copper wiring as the U.S. did, these countries will continue to adapt to mobile commerce at a much faster rate.

Besides India and China, according to a recent Juniper Research report, emerging markets such as Brazil, Turkey, etc., are growing at phenomenally faster percentage rates versus mature markets like North America and Europe. However, consider that even with the lower percent growth rate of mobile commerce in the U.S., we still lead the world significantly in regards to the actual user population of mobile commerce.

Juniper Research stated that that the introduction of mobile wallets has provided access to poorer people in some emerging markets, where the proportion of adults without a bank account can exceed 50%. Thus, a new market of mobile users has converged.

Juniper Research also reported in June that mobile commerce transactions reached $1.5 trillion in 2013 and are expected to more than double, at $3.2 trillion by 2017.


American Express is constantly looking at various technologies and has already made investments in other countries. Ahye believes technology will determine how mobile commerce will evolve and American Express will continue strategizing and participating without picking a “winner or loser” technology.


“We know that the NFC device is probably a better form. With an NFC device you can get information. The world is about data and information. So the direction should be about data and how we get data – it is about how do you get data, how do I make the right type of offer to a customer,” explained Ahye. “What information do I get or how do I do it. If you think about American Express, I know a lot about a customer, what merchants a customer has and how much a customer spends, profile. So NFC can profile people – someone spending $150,000 on pet products we know we should push pet products to her. It is really hard to do that on a mass market so the devices need to give us information, we need to create the layer to analyze all that mobile data to promote to that customer? That is the holy grail. We don’t want to be collateral damage to get the data,” added Ahye.
There are many insights and research reports supporting Ahye’s view. Evans Data Corporation’s recently released “Mobile Development Survey 2013, 1” found that over 31% Of mobile developers today are supporting Near Field Communications (NFC) in their mobile applications and claims that an additional 45% plan to support this technology in the next 12 months.

Also included in the findings was that although NFC was the technology that the most developers plan to support in the next year, still image capture, video image capture, and GPS (Global Positioning System) are the device features more developers are supporting today.

The "see what you missed" video with moderator, Roger Neal (or copy/paste this link - ).

"Hope you enjoy this article Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks!

Other Resources (updated throughout the day)

Desilva + Phillips
NYC Media Lab
American Express
Three Important Developments For the Future of Mobile Commerce
Mobile Commerce Transactions To Surpass $3.2 Trillion By 201, News
Evans Data Corporation
Mobile Commerce 2013, 1, Juniper Research
Mobile Developers Target NFC More Than Voice Recognition, Dr. Dobbs
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