Q&A: Mobile payments and content localization

Q&A: Mobile payments and content localization

Pediroda has 15 years in software innovation in a broad range of connected industries.

He started in connected automation, worked on the connected home, including one of the world’s first connected washing machines, delved into connected trains, developed location-based services in mHealth and explored the possibilities of smart mobility.

He joined Atos is 2008 and is now the global product manager for connected vehicle & machines at Worldline, a subsidiary of Atos, a multinational IT services firm.

He spoke to TU’s Jan Stojaspal about mobile payments, the related issues of control (car OEMs want to control both the sales process and customer data collection) and localization of content.

I imagine the connected car is a fairly new area for Worldline. When did you first get involved, and what sorts of projects are you involved in now?

Worldline has been working in the automotive sector for over 20 years, [but when it comes to the connected car,] we started in 2008 with location-based services and mobility for different sectors.

When Atos acquired Siemens IS in 2011, over 1,000 engineers in automotive strengthened our teams, mostly [to focus on] embedded software but also [to undertake] fleet projects in Asia and Latin America and [to work on] Daimler COMAND Online infotainment system.

In parallel, we partnered with Renault on the R-Link project, which is a big success. Last year, we signed two other contracts, one for an app store for an Android-based aftermarket radio, the other for Effifuel for Michelin Solutions.

Tell me more about your work on Renault R-Link.

We did most of the system on the back end and also contributed to some parts of the onboard system. Most notably, our platform manages end-to-end the underlying business processes.

Renault was [previously] relying on a partner to deliver traffic information and other live services. Adoption rate was good. The problem was that Renault only got one fee and received little customer information.

Renault wanted for version 2.0 a new user experience, taking into consideration the emerging consumer electronics. It also wanted to own the customer relationship.

One of the key [things] was to keep pace with consumer electronics, to have the ability to update apps easily and rapidly so that the services portfolio remains appealing for the end user.

We designed an eStore that lets you for the first time buy apps directly [from] the car. A mobile wallet in the car allows you to securely make the payment.

We have introduced a new level of flexibility in billing. We do not have a fixed, one-year period for subscriptions. We can have a range, for example three months. We also manage free trial periods and all the underlying business processes. And services can be bought online or through the dealer network as well.

What is also different is that we designed the eStore with localization in mind.This is fairly new as most of the connected car offers until now have been the same for all countries.

But what is compelling in the Netherlands may not be as compelling in Italy. So through a framework and the eStore, a growing ecosystem of partners develops apps and ensures that they are fine-tuned for local markets. Some of the apps are local and can be of interest to only one country, which translates into increased billings because the apps are local and well-known to the users. Each country has an eStore manager with the ability to combine services into special promotions.

So the two important issues are control – car OEMs want to control both the sales process and customer data collection – and localization of content, which contributes to higher sales. What are the challenges of the billing process in what sounds like a very complex environment?

You have to be able to make the payment from the car in a safe and easy way. It’s not like on the web. Because it’s mobile, your transaction can be cut half-way through. There is also a delay that can occur over slower networks. The transaction acquiring needs to be able to recover from these disturbances without needing to restart the whole process.

Then there is the complexity of managing invoicing in 45 countries of Europe, Asia and Africa, for B2C, B2B and B2B2C segments.

Do you see other car manufacturers going the same route as Renault?

We see BMW ConnectedDrive also going for per-app payments. The more general trends are fewer and fewer of one-size-fits-all solutions, and we see more and more localized solutions, pay-per-app schemes. The big trend is to try to get the best of consumer electronics trends into the car.

It also sounds that the trend is toward app purchases from the car.

Yes, exactly. The time for one infotainment pack that fit all needs was a v1.0. We are now at v2.0. What people are now used to from the smartphone or tablet … must be replicated in the car. People now only pay for what they use.

What are the advantages of bringing purchasing into the car?

The first thing is immediacy. But it’s also convenience. You still have the possibility to go through the web, but then you have to come with your USB stick, get the apps downloaded on your USB stick and transfer them to the car. Many people won’t buy into that.

We have to replicate what people have in consumer electronics. If the experience is not equal to what they have on the tablet, they won’t engage.

Finally, what about prepaid options?

We think it would help a lot for people that don’t want to subscribe. Today, if you want TomTom Live, you have to buy it for one year. It makes sense if you are a daily commuter. But what if you only need traffic information for two months out of a year? We already do prepaid for smartphones and in the electromobility field for payments at charging stations.

Jan Stojaspal is the executive editor of Telematics Update.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Telematics for Fleet Management USA 2013 on Nov. 20-21 in Atlanta, Georgia, Content and Apps for Automotive USA 2013 on Dec. 11-12 in San Francisco, Consumer Telematics Show 2014 on Jan. 6 in Las Vegas, Telematics for Fleet Management Europe 2014 on March 12-13 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Content and Apps for Automotive Europe 2014 on April 8-9 in Munich, Germany.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013The Automotive HMI Report 2013Insurance Telematics Report 2013 and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012.

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