Identity management, which encapsulates the issues of security and privacy, will be one of the most critical factors to ensure that secure m-transactions can successfully scale. Security of an individual’s data will have to become the responsibility of a trusted community, where the risk and rewards of accessing an individual’s data are stacked up for the consumer rather than against. Effectively, the issue of security will dovetail into the larger issue of privacy, and the key will be to find the right balance between disclosure and oversight.
Whether we take a relatively simplistic view where everyone in the trusted ecosystem is equally incentivized to ensure an individual’s privacy, or the rather more complex view where an individual truly has the technical and regulatory tools available to manage and monetize her or his own personal data through the trusted ecosystem, the essence of security and consequently privacy will distil down to identity – how it is created, stored, transacted, managed, and ultimately terminated.
The next issue that will have to be managed extremely well at scale is customer support. As we are still in the relatively early stages of driving adoption for most initiatives, we can get away with redirecting those pesky customer support calls. Early adopters are perfectly fine being asked to call their bank if the card is a problem, or their merchant if the receipt doesn’t match, or their carrier if a bad connection resulted in the loss of a transaction.
At scale, someone will have to figure out how customer support will be provided for millions of consumers conducting at least 10 transactions a day across at least five different verticals. No one has yet started to focus on the larger issue of customer support at scale, where redirecting will not be an option, and the staff or system fielding the first level support calls will need unfettered access to all the relevant data points across numerous different providers, some of whom may actually be competitors in the trusted ecosystem.
Along with identity management and customer support, the third most critical issue that needs to be addressed to ensure scale is the business model. The issue of privacy has never been about restricting access but rather about clearly defining in tangible terms what the provider is willing to give the consumer in return for access to sensitive personal data. Finding the right incentive for the consumer to take that leap of faith will not be as easy as offering up a free fifth cup of coffee or free delivery.
Providers in a trusted ecosystem will have to come up with a business model whereby they can offer an extremely tangible and enticing value proposition to the consumer to jump onto the grid. Such a tangible and recurring value proposition will have to be built around cost savings extracted across the entire trusted ecosystem.
From a consumer’s perspective, all this great technological advancement that keeps touting increasing levels of efficiency has to translate into something tangible. From a provider’s perspective, the challenge will be figuring out how the sum of all is actually less than the individual parts.
One way or the other if the providers want to scale m-transactions they will have to figure out the business model for transferring value creation back to the consumer. Promising additional convenience and security alone will not save the day.