Service Digitalization – Part 2

In this second chapter let’s see some examples how identification, payments,  service redemption is done the “old fashioned way”. Sometimes it seems like it is still the year 1969 and innovations like computers, internet and mobile phones are still to come somewhere in distant future…

Paper receipts and tickets

We all are handling paper receipts and tickets on daily basis when we visit a grocery store or when we are traveling with a bus, a train or a plane.

There are still advertisements and the coupons in the newspapers and magazines that must be ripped off and  carried to the specific destination where this valuable piece of paper will be thrown to the garbage-basket.

All the entrepreneurs know how frustrating it is scan or take a photo of each wrinkled paper receipt for the accounting purposes.

Even when you purchase a service from the online store, you are still forced to print a receipt to prove your payment when you arrive to the service redemption; at the sport and cultural events, hotels, recreation, traveling …

And yes, I’m aware that there are already solutions available that replaces the paper version with its digital counterpart, like mobile application. But I think that soon the human race should be ready to move to fully paperless and plastic-less era where all small and larger pieces of paper are created and stored in fully digital format and available then from an online storage that is either shop specific or client specific.

Plastic Cards vs digital identifier in a mobile phone

Naturally there is still demand for plastic cards, especially with embedded intelligence like NFC/RFID, in cases where provider wants to get their brand visible and in cases where other identification or payment methods are even more cumbersome.

But nowadays it is natural that there is also digital media available for those who like it more – simple as that. Digital identifier can easily co-exist with the traditional plastic card so that the same system is used to maintain both types and usage reports are collected collectively.

The digital media is usually QR- or barcode embedded in the mobile application or a combination of messaging (SMS, MMS, WhatsApp, email) and identifiers managed in a web-service.

PB-Group’s Cloud based solution supports all above mentioned methods.

Tokens and coins

Most of the dispensers, arcade games and snack&meal machines still has the coin or token slot and connecting them to bank/credit card system is too expensive. In other words, these machines may provide essential service for the customers but the payment method is getting obsolete.

Modern technologies provide simple solutions for replacing slot based automatics with other payment types, including RFID/NFC media and mobile based customer identifier (QR- and barcode), and connecting it to parallel with some other paid service. In example:

  • Theme Parks and entertainment centers can use identified, unique customer media and online service that allows chargeable balance and may also contain different service combinations, including access, meals, snack and balance to all games and token based machines.
  • Landlords/hostel keepers/dormitory management can set a prepaid service or assign credit limit for the residents for the different in-house services and use e.g. smart-keys (with RFID/NFC identifier) or  student/resident card to identify user and charge services among with the other billable costs.
  • Different educational institutions can combine token based services to be used with some other identifier media, like access key-card/key-fob, student card or mobile based. Centralized management for the payment and access services will also provide other benefits like tracking, reporting and remote management of identifiers and devices.

Several identifiers, payment and access medias

Typical carry-on items include an identification media (ID card or driving license), payment cards, mobile phone and a home key. Additionally people may carry also different membership/id cards, additional payment medias and/or cash and keys to different places and premises. Despite of having some excellent mobile applications, like Apple Pay, there is still need for a versatile and trusted method to identify yourself and make payments, or redeem purchased services – if your mobile phone runs out of battery or gets broken then you are s%&€ out of luck!

Fingerprint, eye and face-recognition provide excellent way to identify yourself, make payments and to redeem services. It is just matter of time when convenience will take over security concerns and above listed identification methods will be used to replace all other identification and payment accessories.

Naturally these changes set totally new level of security requirements for the service providers and we’ll see news about security breaches and there will be continuous concern about peoples’ privacy.

Next…

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About Me
My name is Vesa Haimi, entrepreneur, inventor and CEO of a small technology business in Helsinki, Finland (PB-GROUP LTD.).
I’m 48 years old, family man and enjoying golf, when it is warm enough.
I see myself as a global citizen after living abroad for several years and working in various projects in over 50 countries.
I’ve been working for large companies in various positions and also been founding new start-ups; I love the possibility to be creative and invent new IT services, including writing specifications, programming and commercialization.

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