Technology company IBM is teaming up with financial services corporation Visa to enable consumers to make payments goods or services using IoT-enabled devices.
IBM’s Watson IoT platform will be combined with Visa’s global payment services so that payments could be made from a watch, a ring, an appliance or even a car.
For example, IBM suggests that, in a connected car that uses the Watson IoT Platform, a driver would be alerted when the car’s warranty or certification is about to expire, or if a car part needs replacing. With this information to hand, the driver could order parts or schedule a service appointment, “with the push of a button”.
All of IBM’s Watson IoT Platform customers will have access to Visa payment services through the IBM Cloud. It will work using a token-sharing architecture; Visa’s Token Service replaces sensitive account information found on payment cards with a unique digital identifier that would be used to process payments. IBM’s platform would manage the tokens and connect them to specific devices.
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Rob Bamforth, analyst at IT research and advisory organization Quocirca, says that the IBM-Visa combination has potential for a seamless user experience, especially if there is the ability for a sale to be pushed to the customer at the moment of their immediate need.
However, he also believes it could reduce the opportunity for the customer to check other options but says that it is still an element of user control at the point of experience compared to auto-renewal subscriptions, for example.
Bamforth is also sceptical about the timing of any offers.
“I’d be hesitant about the moment of delivery of an offer in particular to a car driver heading down a rainy motorway being told their warranty is expiring,” he said.
“But with additional intelligence – artificial and perhaps some human – it ought to be possible to schedule such things to when the customer can, and might want, to see it,” he added.
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Making sure that the experience is seamless will rely on more than streamlining the interaction of the click at the point of sale.
“The challenges include: information that needs to be seen before making the decision such as contractual elements, and what happens when something goes wrong,” says Bamforth, who emphasizes that dealing effectively with exceptions is the hallmark of a seamless process.
In December, BMW and IBM Watson announced a partnership in which they would explore the possibilities of cognitive computing in cars.
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