Finovate Spring 2016 – Day 1 Highlights

Finovate Spring 2016 – Day 1 Highlights

I’ve just returned from Finovate’s May 2016 Conference in San Jose, where a clear theme emerged:  a combination of digital self service + human interaction + artificial intelligence.

From an enormous range of 71 presenters (I think one dropped out) here are a few personal highlights from  Day 1.

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Can Apple Pay help to save Apple Watch?

Can Apple Pay help to save Apple Watch?

Like many people, I’ve previously come to regard the Apple Watch as ugly, inconvenient and pointless.

Initially I awaited its arrival with interest.  I trialed it with enthusiasm to learn how this new bit of hardware might help, and maybe even transform, my life.

But over time I found that I was using it less and less, the usability issues became harder to accommodate and the incessant buzzing on my wrist became more irritating than helpful.

And so, along with many people, I drifted away from its use.  It wasn’t a deliberate decision; more a question of losing interest.  And so for the last six months my Apple Watch has been relegated to the role of test device for app development.

That’s not to say that there aren’t many people who love their Apple Watch. There are plenty of people who love being so intimately aware of incoming phone calls, upcoming meetings, text messages, driving instructions, etc.  And there is a sizable population who like it for its fitness and health benefits.

It’s just that I’m not one of them.  I don’t use the fitness monitoring; I’m more irritated than excited by the alerts; and to be honest, I don’t like that it looks less like a a quality time piece and more like a small phone strapped to my wrist.  Call me traditional… but it doesn’t help that I don’t like its appearance.


And I’m not alone – the internet is full of people bagging the device – all of which probably accounts for the watch’s apparent low sales volumes.

However, the other day, ANZ launched Apple Pay in Australia (disclosure:  I’m an ANZ customer) and I tried out Apple Pay, both on the phone and on the watch:  and I think I might be prepared to change my mind.

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Fingerprint payments to be developed in time for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Fingerprint payments to be developed in time for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Last week the Japanese Government announced that it would commence development of fingerprint payment technology in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The system is part of a broader strategy to increase the annual number of foreign tourists to visiting Japan to 40 million by that date.

The way the system will work is that:

  • inbound tourists will register fingerprints when they arrive in the country
  • fingerprint records will be associated with a bank or credit card account
  • tourists will then pay for purchases by using fingerprint readers in stores, restaurants, etc
  • data collected by the system will be used to identify tourist movements and spending habits
Source:  The Yomiuri Shimbun

The system is to be initially trialed in 300 restaurants, shops and hotels popular with tourists, with a view to it being extended country-wide by 2020.

What are the implications?

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Apple Pay isn’t doomed yet. An Australian perspective on US mobile payments

Apple Pay isn’t doomed yet.  An Australian perspective on US mobile payments

Over the last six months, the news for Apple Pay has been pretty mixed.  While the payments system has grown its footprint internationally and recorded some successes, US experience has been far from stellar.

The key trend emerging is that while US consumers are happy to trial Apple Pay, ongoing usage is disappointing.  In fact, repeat usage is declining, as reported here, here, and here (there’s lots more) which must be of great concern to Apple.

Why are US consumers failing to utilise Apple Pay in greater numbers?  One answer, according to an article on called ‘Apple Pay Meets Its Biggest Foe Yet: Consumer Apathy’, is well… consumer apathy.

I think the real answer is more nuanced than that.

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