The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Is consumer data transaction enablement and analytics the real thing?

unlimited data.pngThere have been a number of announcements recently about companies using their IT capabilities to change the interaction with people on a daily and dynamic basis.

 

One recent example is PepsiCo’s launch of a “social vending machine”. It’s half vending and half bank machine, allowing "random acts of refreshment," or the ability to buy a drink for a stranger, in situations such as sending "a symbol of encouragement to a city that's experienced some challenging weather or a congratulatory beverage to a university that just won a championship," PepsiCo said. I can see it now when a city wins a championship – drinks all around.

 

Coke had done some other interesting things with interactive vending machines and custom flavors. The Pei-Wei near my home recently put one of these in. Unfortunately, I just wanted a drink and having millions of combinations was a bit too much to deal with.

 

All of these machines have one thing in common. They collect information about the tastes of those who use them and send that information back for analysis. They provide flexibility and increased functionality. It does make you wander what new business models are possible and what information can be gained, especially if they are linked to our mobile devices to enable the transactions.

 

We’ve seen it from banks for a while, and in some parts of the world (like Kenya) with phones. Based on some of the videos it looks like we’ve just started to see these capabilities come to fruition. What will happen to retail when the Internet is assimilated to the same extent it is in the entertainment space?

When cash is no longer just cash?

no cash.pngConsumer use of prepaid cards is evolving beyond gift cards:

  • Parents are now loading money onto college students’ cards because students are avoiding credit cards or can’t get approved for credit (my kids seem to get a credit card application a day still though)
  • Cards are being used for sending money to families in other countries
  • Prepaid cards are used in lieu of transit cards
  • They are being used for a variety of rewards programs like: employee recognition programs; product rebates; airline vouchers; completing on-line surveys

 

HP recently moved more strongly into pre-paid card services. By enabling funds to become immediately available to consumers, these capabilities help financial institutions and businesses across a variety of industries and governments by providing a more secure transaction environment for the customers. Pre-paid cards have other benefits for consumers as well.

 

This is part of HP’s Instant-On Enterprise strategy, by enabling instant access to funds. Banks and business need to evolve during this time of belt tightening in order to be profitable, which includes offering new services in order to meet consumer demands. This new service not only helps banking clients meet consumer needs, but also helps them become more agile, providing the tools and information needed to anticipate and fulfill customers’ needs.

 

Prepaid cards are becoming an increasingly popular method of payment allowing customers to easily manage their money and avoid debt, while keeping a handle on their financial future.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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