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Mobile payments, albeit currently not,  are most likely to become the lifeblood of mobile technology applications as a whole in the few years to come, according to a preliminary research by ErgonoTech.  And the tipping point is likely to come around 2010, when the full-blown broadband infrastructure starts to exploit newer horizons of mobile multimedia.

A great number of top-notch market research firms have been publishing their market forecasts individually on various segments of mobile technology and its applications. However, it seems like forecasting is one thing, and what actually turns out later is another.Mobile technology is evolving very fast into an unheard-of and unthinkable behemoth that is not visible to the market research firms,  if they  tend to look more into a rearview mirror to make a forecast for the next 5 to 10 years.

NEWS Friday, 13 February 2009

Challenges to a 'cashless' world, BBC

AI(Artificial Intelligence) or SI(Swarm Intelligence) will make greater inroads into mobile technology, and therefore biogenics or biomimicry will
start playing  a major role in mobile technology in the next decade to come.  Insects, birds, bats, dolphins, and other animals excelled mankind in flying, swimming or communicating  as many as tens of millions years before mankind even developed enough intelligence to think about inventing a cart wheel.

New Barclaycard is touch-and-pay

Why going wireless for payments

Types of currency have been undergoing a  phenomenal transformation.
Some archaeological finds revealed that primitive man used big and heavy stones or rocks in place of money as the heavy weight served as a safeguard against thefts. Primitive man preferred physical weight to convenience, whereas modern man prefers convenience to weight.  

To a large extent, paper bills have been replaced by plastic money, cyber money, wireless money, with the result of saving time, space, and other resouces as well. In other words, user-centric pressures are spurring this tendency.

Why and when cash  is a nuisance

Moreover, volume handling of paper money by business or organizations requires a lot of overheads associated with its time-consuming handling process, like counting, binding, recalculating, supervision, secured delivery, and deposit into accounts.

Despite this growing overhead, why can't tollgates, for example, go cashless, but end up afflicting this ever-sharpening man-made suffering to motorists and forcing vehicles to spit out the bulk of their daily share of CO2 gas emissions, while queuing up before the tollgates?

Mobiles to become digital wallets 


Currently, Californian toll authorities are selling FasTrak cards at a "first time"discount at Costco stores in efforts to maximize the use of  RFID transponders. Though toll authorities are doing every means possible within their power  to encourage the use of RFID transponders, the weakest link in the chain is that
  • Every motorist can't always have a bank account or credit card account to activate RFID transponder accounts, like FasTrak and EZ-Pass.
  •  Even if all the motorists were mandated to use RFID transponders, there would still be a hidden risk of unexpected insolvency in User accounts.
  • RFID technology limitations : failure to read, misreading, privacy issue
  • Unless 100% of motorists, including foreign tourists and border-crossing truckers, are mandated to pay wirelessly, the tollgate congestion issue won't go away.

Contactless Payment  technology is Panacea or Placebo?

Cashless payments and contactless credit cards are increasingly penetrating into metropolitan daily routine. In  New York and Silicon Valley, for instance, a number of chain and independent food service operators are taking orders via the Internet or text messaging, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

"Contactless payment technology features a transmitter chip on the user's card, key chain fob or cell phone that  conveys identifying data across small distances to a receiver on the merchant's terminal. Because there is no need to properly orient a magnetic stripe and swipe, contactless transactions are faster and easier than conventional card settlement,."  said NRN.

"Small distances" means 12 inches or 90 feet at best. However, DriveOnPay technology can do wireless transactions within a 5-mile range. These "small distances" wireless transactions won't address the metropolitan traffic issues, which are accountable for the bulk of CO2 gas emissions.

Still, the contactless credit cards will be preferred by users in view that as a stray customer, you might endure some embarrasing occasions to bother to produce a second ID to a cashier with a suspicious glance.

Online Banking is branching out into mobile banking

Nearly 80 million US adult Internet users will conduct some banking activity online this year, an increase of 9.5% over 2006, according to eMarketer, a leading research firm in digital marketing. Eventually, online banking, mostly on desktops and on laptops and  mobile phones,  will see a cladogenetic evolution more vigously into mobile banking, when the market awakens to the need to identify the hidden links between vehicle dashtops and mobile devices.

Governments losing money, Consumers/Motorists suffering

On the other side of coin, municipal governments are losing money in their operation of parking meters, and parking garages,for example.  Take Oakland and San Francisco in California. Oakland city is reportedly losing an annual average of $2 million from its parking meters, and San Francisco is getting Meter money far below capacity at its 23,000 meters. Not only parking meters but they face a grim outlook in public parking revenues.

But what about motorists? Traffic congestions, including gridlocks and stop-and-go traffic, and stressful hunting for parking spaces, have become a major part of motorists' daily routine. In downtown San Francisco,you may  encounter a decent-looking guy  approaching you for a couple of quarters he desperately needs to insert into a nearby parking meter.  

Headless in tollgates

All told, city governments are losing money  and motorists are still suffering. Do you know why this is happening. Figuratively speaking, if you were forced to pay your tolls and parking fees in no other than all pennies, then what  would happen? Paying cash for tolls is an inane practice, and a mix of cash and RFID transponders for toll payments is a more insane scheme. Tollbooths have been configured for carpoolers, cash payers and  RFID tranponder  users, thereby causing more twists for vehicle traffic.

Can't tell vehicles from vehicle traffic

This folly in tollbooth configurations stems from the fact that toll authorities or engineers involved can't tell vehicles from vehicle traffic. A herd of vehicles in motion is vehicle traffic, a traffic flow. On the other hand,  vehicles, when parked in a place, are vehicles. The point is that  the current  tollgate congestion is a man-made suffering that  can be resolved, only when the engineers involved begin to awaken to the need of telling vehicles from vehicle traffic.

Wireless Age beckoning, but aren't we trying to jump over a ditch with two leaps?

We have entered an era of wireless payments, but  state and city governments are asking us to pay tolls and parking fees in cash, coin and by RFID transponders. Inadvertently, if one motorist hands out a $100 bill to pay the toll, then there will be a fraction of a minute's delay at the tollbooth. But its butterfly effect  stretches over 5 to 15 miles like a tsunami, as if a butterfly's flapping in Beijing might cause a tornado in Washington D.C.

This is why we need a fail-safe disruptive technology in a shift away from backward compatibility , which may  ensure economy of scales, but not all the time. RFID technology is effective in a limited scope, but not in wireless transactions. Parking meters accepting coins, paper bills and credit/debit cards
sound like the best solution on the surface, but will cause more unexpected problems. Not all the time, but sometimes we need to learn to appreciate the meaning of "creative destruction".

To wire some money to a foreign country, do you go to Western Union or use PayPal? About two decades ago, banks used teleprinters to receive T/T(Telegraphic Transfer), which then was the fastest method of  wiring money to a foreign country. In the middle of 1980s, fax machines got into every small and big offices and even into homes, and made a new wave of communications.

Compare the speeds of teleprinters and fax machines.

Printing letter after letter  is what teleprinters do. On the other hand, fax machines do the job by line after line. What about e-mail then? As far as bandwidth permits, e-mail can send tens of thousand pages or more in a fraction of a second.

Collecting tolls and parking fees, checking in for boarding passes and ball parks, and waiting on hold for a phone order of a hamburger can be done at the speed of e-mail, based on DriveOnPay technology.

Tollgates, public parking garages, parking meters are just the tip of iceberg. Ball parks, airports, shopping malls, expos, convention halls, amusement parks, opera houses, movie theaters, concert halls,  national parks, RV parks, and camp sites can't go cashless? Why not?

High Car Density is Mother of  wireless payment?

Have you ever wondered why we can't go cashless across the board when it comes to paying parking fees, buying subway passes and movie tickets? In Hong Kong, they use Octopus cards to do the above. In Korea and Japan, they use cash cards or credit or debit cards for the same. But car density in these Asian countries are not as high as in USA.

A total of 233 million vehicles in USA and a population of about 300 million. Almost everybody drives one vehicle, except for children below age of 16 and disabled  and elderly people. This is why all the public places are overcrowded and everybody has to wait in line to pay to get some service or merchandises they need. One American household spends about 40% to 60% of their household income on vehicles: car payments, car insurance, gasoline, upkeep costs, tolls, taxes and dues, and traffic tickets.

In countries of low car density, using Octopus cards and similar Contactless payment technology might be more workable than in USA, because there are not so many motorists  as in USA.  

CARS, CARS,CARS,TRUCKS, TRUCKS, TRUCKS, BIG RIGS, RV's with trailers,TRUCKS towing boats in behind are the traffic scene on the American roads. A couple of big rigs, menacingly and obtrusively , can do the obstruction of traffic justice, creating a stop-and-go traffic over a stretch of 3 to 5 miles.

And that during rush hours, when commuters are getting desperate for timely clock-in or for picking up their kids at  a daycare center in time.

Is it  God or devils who created this heck of pandemonium? Absolutely no.
Man has created this nonsensical Gordian knot , trying to untie it, because the best solution looks like untying it. But  the ultimate solution

Method of wireless payments
  • Web-based online payments or shopping

    • Proprietary online payment forms - You will need to fill out an online form on  the Internet in a secured session.  Still vulnerable to threats of phishing and  key loggers
    • Payment Information Masking - You will need to set up an account based on  your payment information. Every transaction does not reveal payment  information on the Internet. Disadvantage: lack of User-centric features including menu-driven Payment Options. Impossible to use it while driving.

      • PayPal
      • Google's Checkout
      • ShopText

  • Contactless credit card :  RFID chip-embedded credit cards
    • Octopus card
    • VIVOtech

    • Payment information can be stolen in public within a range of 10 meters
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) : mobile phones can be used as                      electronic payment means within a working range of  20                     centimeter ( approx. 7.8 ").  NFC is something like a                           contactless credit card embedded in a mobile phone.
  • Bluetooth technology enables access to Internet within 25 meters with the possibility of Internet payments. Basically, it is the same as web-based online payments mentioned  above.
  • Biometric authentication 
    • Pay By Touch   [ your finger prints may be copied or stolen ]          
  • Software-installed phones, mobile and landline
    • Touch-Pay
  • Non-web-based location-based wireless payment at any vehicle speed within 5-miles of BS
    • DriveOnPay : featuring three-touch operation
Advantages of DriveOnPay technology

DriveOnPay can pay tolls, parking fees, and do online shopping within a 5-mile range of a BS (Base Station), while driving even at  80mph.  All you have to do is pick  one of the payment options( three to five options, including debit,credit, Prepaid, etc) and press the key for the payment option on the touchscreen of VIMO.Online orders and reservations on VIMO are prepaid online.

DriveOnPay  can
  •  stop leakage of  city or state coffers by cutting back on labor and   overheads
  •  augment  city or state fund pools by utilizing online fund raising means
  •  increase efficacy of metropolitan traffic systems by strategic handling of toll collection and parking, where motorists tend to struggle most for the best results in terms of time and money
  •  beat traffic congestion to a larger extent to beat the biggest CO2 emitter
  • increase efficacy of airport mass surveillance on departures to the speed of e-mail, while focusing RFID and biometric authentication technology on arrivals
  • maximize convenience at ball parks in terms of check-in and parking, and establish economy of scales of  ticket less entry, last-minute ticket returns and spot purchase of tickets with the result of dwindling the black market and the online thefts of tickets.
  • streamline metropolitan traffic flow and volume by prior scheduling of  EVENT PARKING that will buffer the unexpected overflow of vehicle traffic and the subsequent crowding of parking garages and the horrendous gridlocks that usually stun the  metropolitan traffic, due to conferences, expos, trade shows and other public gatherings.
  • buffer the sudden influx of vehicle traffic into shopping malls by enabling  takeout food orders from the cruising vehicles to be made without  being on hold for a busy phone line, without having to find a parking spot and without having to read menu on the monument sign in the drive-thru lane in a hurry, but in the  privacy and luxury of leisurely reading the menu on the VIMO screen in the vehicle
  • establish  "tollgate democracy" by eliminating the  "apartheid or segregation of motorists" established by payment means and status, like cash, RFID transponders, or carpool  to let  no single vehicle to stop or slow down or  interweave or jump into other lanes, but only the smooth traffic flow through the tollgate will enhance all the motorists' sense of happiness, as if there were no tollgate that is blocking and interrupting their move. Not much back office work as in the case of toll roads., based on RFID technology
Mobile payments to reach $22 billion in 2009

"Jupiter Research predicts that P2P fund transfers and mobile payments in the developing world, together with the commercialization in 2009 of NFC (Near Field Communications) based mPayments will generate transactions worth approximately $22 billion."

The above forecast, however, ruled out any possible advent of BWA
mobile payment platforms, including DriveOnPay™.  ErgonoTech believes that mobile WiMAX will certainly broaden the basis of mobile payments.

Mobile Fund Tranfrer to generate $8 billion in operator revenue by 2012

"By enabling subscribers to send and receive money using their wireless phones, mobile operators have the opportunity to bring local banking services to millions of people around the world. These services could also deliver operators a valuable new revenue stream. According to a new study from ABI Research, the market for mobile fund transfers will grow to a revenue opportunity of nearly US$8 billion for mobile operators by 2012, from just over US$10 million last year."

The ABI study is focused on mobile fund transfers only, based on the currently available mobile payment technlogy. What had been unthinkable a few years ago happens in modern technology worlds, particularly mobile technolgy, where mobile multimedia moves toward cladogentic evolution at a brisk pace.

It remains worthwhile watching more closely at that pace of technology evolution. It is crystal-clear that other segments of mobile payments, unthinkable for now, will  have appeared by 2012, as we expect to see an upheaval in telecom industry or a sea change in busienss alliance between media giants and mobile operators., as the forthcoming change in the FCC specturm auction rules may indicate a loosening of spectrum licensees' market control or a stengthening of net neutrality.

[The core technology of DriveOnPay™ and its deployment scenarios can only be disclosed to interested parties under a non-disclosure agreement and then licensed to qualified  and competent licensees on a non-exclusive basis.]

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