Commentary

The Internet of Things: Wearable Payments a Tap Away

There still could be even more interesting twists and turns along the road to mobile commerce.

During a discussion around wearable devices at the MediaPost IoT: Advertising at Internet Week conference this week, we heard some insightful and relevant concepts from an executive of Jawbone, the well-known maker of fitness devices, among other things.

One of the ideas relates to time, as in the move to interacting with consumers in very real time.

This doesn’t mean sending messages at the last minute just before a purchase in hopes of swaying that buying decision, but rather finding new ways to interact with consumers while using information gathered continuously and over time.

“The mode of interaction has changed,” said Travis Bogard, VP of product management and strategy at Jawbone. “The movie introduced the three-hour interaction, TV brought around the 30-minute interaction, we then got the Web that was a two-to-three minute interaction and then mobile is about 15 seconds.

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“Now you’re in a world where you have one-to-two second interactions. That’s what a lot of these smartwatches are doing.”

I sat down with Bogard, the keynote presenter at the IoT: Advertising event to discuss the role of wearables in the world of the Internet of Things.

The general point made was that the idea of last-minute messaging is not likely going to be the way to go, even though it’s becoming easier to do via mobile devices.

“In that world, the question is not how can you present and flash a brand message,” said Bogard. “The question is how do you deeply engage in someone’s life? It’s not about that can I push you to buy tomorrow, but how do I keep you as an engaged customer and a relationship over time. And what can I know about you as a result of that.”

“Engagement in the future is 24-7,” he said. “Right time, right moment.”

Regarding mobile payments, Jawbone recently partnered with American Express and now allows payments through Jawbone fitness trackers.

Bogard noted that as he came to the conference in a taxi, he just tapped his wrist, with a wearable with NFC built in, and left the vehicle.

“If you think about payment systems, it’s something we do quite often,” said Bogard, “There’s an entire dance that happens as you go through it. There’s waiting and handing over any of the different forms of payment, for example.”

“The idea was ‘what if we could actually take the fact that we already have something on your body and that was your payment?’ It could be just as simple as tapping to pay.”

While new mobile payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet will continue to be introduced, the capability also will continue to spread into other devices, like fitness trackers.

For the moment, by wearing or carrying the right device, mobile payments are just a tap away, with the tap being the actual activity in the process.

As the Internet of Things evolves, even the tap will go away.

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