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Staff blog: eCommerce the Past, Present and Future

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.”

Socrates 470-399 BC

Commerce is the exchange of funds for goods or services. eCommerce is the same exchange, but without the use of physical cash swapping hands.

In 1982, the United States rolled out the first EFTPOS machine. For the first time in humanity’s history, someone could [lawfully] walk into a store, buy something and take it away without any currency exchanging hands. This was made possible because the buyer was now in possession of a plastic card instead of cash. The plastic card, known as a payment card, allowed the buyer to initiate a transaction electronically to transfer money from their bank account to the store’s bank account. Ah yes, whilst eCommerce can do away with cash, money will always be needed to buy stuff.

Today eCommerce is just another part of life. Whether we are picking up groceries from the local supermarket, paying our GP to examine us or buying a gift for our loved ones, it is eCommerce that makes all this possible. Furthermore, with the emergence of the internet, eCommerce has gone to the next level. From the comfort of our couches we can now buy, sell and transact almost anything online. Services such as eBay™ and PayPal™ enable us to exchange goods and services for funds without the need for physical shop fronts. Once again eCommerce has enabled the buyer to electronically transfer funds to the seller in exchange for the goods or service they’re getting.

The convenience and simplicity of eCommerce has also brought with it the serious risk and threat of criminal activity. Today a thief no longer hides behind a ski mask and holds up banks, instead they hide behind a keyboard and seek to take money directly from your bank account. Electronic theft is a serious concern for the eCommerce industry. Organisations and governments from all over the world have adopted measures to protect and safeguard our electronic funds. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard version 1.0 (PCI DSS 1.0) was formed in 2004 by a group of organisations which include VISA card, MASTERCARD and American Express. The standard is managed and administered by a special council and dictates how payment card information must be transmitted and stored electronically. Whist this standard is not enforceable by law [yet], it is a strong influence for buyers having trust in a website. PCI DSS is continuously being reviewed and updated. Version 3.2 is planned for release in 2016.

So where will eCommerce takes us next? Well, the concept can never change: exchanging funds for goods or services electronically. However, the means we use to perform these transactions will certainly evolve. Enter the world of virtual reality and augmented reality… where life and technology are entwined. Imagine… you are walking in a market at the foot of the great pyramids at Giza. You walk past a stall selling beautiful statues of the ancient kings and pharaohs. One particular statue catches your eye. You look at it, touch it, pick it up, turn it around in your hands. It’s a work of art and you must have it. You turn to the store owner and you haggle for it until finally the store owner agrees to your price. He takes it away and wraps it up for you. You reach into your pocket, take out your wallet and look through it. You pull out 10 Egyptian pounds and hand it over to the store keeper, shake hands and say goodbye. You take off your glasses and your gloves and you find yourself sitting on your couch in your living room on the other side of the world. Three days later the doorbell rings and the UPS person hands you a package. You open it, unwrap it and there is your Egyptian statue, exactly as you saw it… what a beautiful world it will be!

 

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Staff blog: Matchmakers: AR/VR and Fintech

In Finance, time is money. Real-time is real money – therefore offering real-time user experiences (UX) creates new market dynamics.

Both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are technologies, at the cusp of explosive take-off for wider engagement and adoption. This creates the possibilities for reactive frameworks, streaming, standard data format – catering even for differentials; the trends will only accelerate.

The main opportunity for AR/VR in fintech will be with data visualization. One of the key ways fintech companies differentiate from their traditional financial services competition is by focusing on enhancing customer engagement and user experience (UX). While much of finance and trading is controlled by algorithms and automatic processes, as more data is consumed by computers, it has made it harder for humans to analyze what is going on. As a result, data visualization products aided by Augmented Reality appear as an inevitable opportunity.

The challenge lies within an enterprise to re-imagine how functions and processes should and could operate based on today’s realities, not yesterday’s constraints. How is digitization eliminating physical location constraints in your business? What if complex analysis could be deployed across all of your organization’s data in an instant? Where are business ecosystems blurring or obliterating lines between competitors, partners, and customers? Approaches may range from wholesale transformational efforts to incremental improvements tacked on to traditional budgets and projects.

Creating a 360 degree view of data on customers, products, the chart of accounts, and social behaviors imply integration. This translates to transactions and other business data being available as APIs to systems outside of the core platform and potentially to partners, independent software vendors, or customers for usage outside an organization.

Innovation within Financial Institutions can be accomplished through these additional new interfaces to drive digital solutions, improve the reach of cloud investments, and simplify the ongoing care and maintenance of core systems. Is your enterprise ready for the ride?

 

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