Taking place in Las Vegas this week, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Over the past 52 years it has been the launchpad for some of the most transformative consumer technologies of our lifetime. The first DVD was shown in 1996, Bill Gates (with a little help from then-wrestler, The Rock) unveiled the initial Xbox in 2001 and the first wearable technologies graced wrists at the show in 2013.
As a company with digital flowing through our DNA, it is always a show that we watch closely. Like many of those at CES, to us digital is a way of life since day one. We were the market’s first truly digital financial commerce platform and believe in empowering everyday life by making the world digital.
At CES this year we were supporting several of our customers and strategic partners to reach their full potential and inspire the next generation of consumers around the globe. One was Rinspeed, who unveiled a brand-new concept vehicle. The vehicle supports the new megatrend “Commerce on the Move,” that highlights how autonomous driving will work for the digitally native mass market in the future. We are proud to be the payment partner within the cooperation, which also includes SAP and OSRAM.
Also at CES, we demonstrated how our digital banking and payment app, boon.PLANET, integrates with the HERE Mobility marketplace to provide B2B2C payment and mobility services. Backed by the likes of Audi, BMW and Daimler, HERE Mobility’s Marketplace is active in over 2 million vehicles across Europe, Latin America and the US.
Over the next decade, innovations in mobility will open doors to completely new customer experiences. Fully integrated payment processes and digital identification methods help remove friction and are playing a central role in accelerating the commerce on the move trend.
It wasn’t just Wirecard and our customers and partners talking about commerce on the move and a world of connected mobility. Amazon’s stand was like a parking lot of next-generation connected vehicles. It included an interactive, immersive demo of a data-driven shopping experience in a Cadillac; an Alexa-powered interactive in-vehicle assistant that stores driver profiles in the cloud; and an Accenture demo showing how identity and personalization can be used to create unique transportation experiences.
Further, Amazon announced that later this year, customers will be able to say, “Alexa, pay for gas” to purchase fuel at Exxon and Mobil gas stations in the US. The transaction is then instantly made through Amazon Pay.
Mobileye – the Intel-owned company that specializes in chips for vision-based autonomous vehicles – also demonstrated how one of its autonomous test vehicles could navigate the complex streets of Jerusalem using only a dozen cameras.
Elsewhere, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, in addition to declaring mobility to be the next megatrend – something we also wrote about in an earlier blog post – announced the Vision-S concept car. Taking the assembled crowds by surprise, it featured 33 different sensors, multiple widescreen displays, 360 Reality Audio and always-on connectivity.
However, even these vehicles were somewhat overshadowed by Mercedes-Benz’s jaw-dropping concept car, inspired by the world of “Avatar” and developed in collaboration with famed director James Cameron. Billed as “a completely new interaction between human, machine and nature” the car featured a plethora of futuristic features, yet no steering wheel.
Also seemingly out of a movie, were the concept flying taxis that Hyundai Motors has developed for Uber Elevate’s aerial ride-hailing service. Cruising at altitudes of between 1,000 and 2,000 feet, the electrically powered PAV, or “personal air vehicle,” will have the capability of carrying up to four passengers on trips of up to 60 miles at speeds reaching 180 mph.
Enhanced, connected mobility will also be taking to the skies thanks to Delta Air Lines, who announced several ways it is trying to enhance the future passenger experience. These included a “binge button” that lets passengers watch back-to-back episodes of their favorite show from the moment they check in. In addition, a new “recommended for you” tab will suggest new content to watch based on a passenger’s viewing history. Further, the new seat-back screens will be able to mirror passengers’ smartphones.
The mobility trend is so important to Japanese automotive giant Toyota, that it announced it is going to transform a 175-acre former car factory at the base of Mount Fuji into a prototype city of the future. It will have its own emergency services and schools, and will be home to a mixture of employees, retirees and others. Provisionally named Woven City, it will be a testbed for autonomous vehicles, innovative street design, smart home technology, robotics and new mobility products. A virtual mock-up of the city drew the crowds to their CES stand.
While mobility certainly dominated, CES also provided the perfect setting for us to announce our new relationship with Sprint to integrate our unified commerce solutions into Sprint’s Curiosity™ Internet of Things (IoT) platform and deliver the “Internet of Payments.” This collaboration is a significant step toward developing the shopping experience of the future and we are excited to explore all the possibilities the relationship offers us.
In summary: This year’s CES highlighted how the way we travel, shop and work will continue to change dramatically this decade. For businesses to not just survive, but thrive, they need to shift with the times and provide new, integrated commerce experiences – whenever, however and wherever the consumer expects them.