Evolving Ecosystem around Apple PassbookPosted: October 25, 2012
Its quiet interesting to see the evolving support around Apple’s Passbook app. I gave a hint about the future of Passbook in my earlier post.
By this time a handful of implementation utilizing Passbook have been announced. Any solutions like Pre-Paid Cards on Passbook, in my view doesn’t utilize the right potential of Passbook.
What strikes me most is the approach taken by Apple to give a solution without utilizing new Hardware like NFC.
- Needs NFC Supported handsets
- Needs specialized terminals at vendor-side to support NFC based payments
- Vendors needs to integrate these terminals to their existing billing software
- Tied down to one or two providers – Google Wallet and upcoming ISIS
Points captured under bullets 2 and 3 needs additional investment on the Vendor side.
No business will go for something new until they see some break-even in the investment they are making.
Since, plastic cards are so popular even with an average customer then why should they need to support a mere percentage of the population with NFC payments.
Advantages of Passbook based mobile Payment solutions
Passbook addresses the top Disadvantages of NFC based solutions
- No additional hardware feature required on users Handset
- No Specialized terminals needed at Vendor side
- Utilizes bar code which is already supported at Vendors.
- Passbook provides an ecosystem for any body to come in
See Also : iOS Passbook Simplified
Disadvantages of Passbook
- It’s basically the current platform its available – Only iOS and that too on newly released iPhone 5 and older 4S.
- Scanning of Bar codes in Passbook cards seems to be problematic for existing readers
The last one captured in the Advantages of Passbook is the most prominent one.
It’s easy for anybody to join the Passbook ecosystem unlike Google Wallet and ISIS.
The implementor just needs to ensure that he generates and supports Passbook compliant cards, which doesn’t seems to be a big deal.
The solutions so far provided in Passbook are either Boarding Passes, Admittance Cards, Pre-Paid Coupons. But we could see some innovative ideas coming up in future, As iOS always remains as a preferred platform for Developers compared to others.
- Apple could gain more acceptance by releasing Passbook to other platforms like Android, Windows Phones etc. Google has already taken this approach by providing support for iOS on their upcoming Google Wallet Version.
- We could build a iOS based bar code reader. We already have Apps to do so in all platforms.
The first one is less likely, as core thinking at Apple is to Sell their hardware based on the exclusive software / app they provide on their hardware.
For taking Passbook forward
- Deploying Passbook app in platforms other than iOS
- Building a Two way interaction between Passbook and POS Terminals.
The current interaction between passbook and POS terminal is One way which is similar to existing payment solutions – Re-Deem Coupons, Credit / Debit Cards. As this is a Software based solution , we could build two-way interactions. One use could be to Pre-Generate a card and during each interaction, the Vendor charges the card and the Passbook card’s balance is reduced by the amount charged. This could in one way reduce the creation of a card for each purchase.
Also Major banks should come forward in generating Passbook supported Cards. The advantage for Banks would be no need to manage the making of Plastic Cards. If we could manage a Two way interaction then we could eliminate multiple Instances of any misuse. As Once a Pre-defined limit based Card is generated then the charging happens between the Passbook Card and Vendor.
It will be exciting to watch how this App could change the way we make mobile payments in future.
- Airlines begin integrating Passbook for mobile boarding passes ahead of iOS 6 launch (9to5mac.com)
- Coupons.com adds Passbook integration for dozens of top retailers (9to5mac.com)
- Whether Apple Passbook is getting typecast as a Coupon Aggregator? (techcurrents.wordpress.com)
- Why Passbook could join Ping in the Apple graveyard [GigaOM] (gigaom.com)