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Archive for November, 2015

New payment systems taking off

November 19, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Search Clinic, Uncategorized

The use of new electronic payment systems are rapidly growing

The use of new electronic payment systems are rapidly growing

Consumers have never had a broader choice of ways to spend their money:

conventional credit and debit cards
contactless or “tap-to-pay” cards
digital wallets on smart phones and smart watches.

As well as Google’s Android Pay and Apple’s Apple Pay, South Korean smartphone maker Samsung plans the UK launch of its own contactless system, Samsung Pay, in the near future.

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For small UK businesses this poses quite a challenge: 40% don’t even accept conventional card payments today, let alone contactless technologies.

Yet consumers want to use them: contactless transactions more than tripled in the last year, from payments worth £653 million in 2013 to £2.32 billion in 2014.

In the past, businesses have had to pay fixed monthly fees for card capabilities, making them too expensive for many small businesses.

And the long contracts were a particular problem in the rapidly growing pop-up retail sector where shops and restaurants come and go quickly.

A recent report from telecoms company EE and the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that Britain’s pop-up sector grew by 12.3% last year.

The only likely security risk is that a retailer is fooled into downloading malware onto their phone or tablet which could intercept the card payment details.

Some see the solution is to use one of the new breed of card reader devices that link to a smart phone or tablet running a sales app and providing internet connectivity.

These devices are either free or low cost. The companies that provide them – iZettle, PayPal, Payleven, SumUp, for example – charge a percentage of each transaction (typically around 2% to 3%), with no long contract or monthly fee.

Crucially, that figure is below the £30 limit for contactless card payments, and contactless transactions now make up about 30% of sales.

In common with most card readers of this type, the iZettle device comes with software that runs on a smart phone or tablet to manage transactions and generate sales reports.

Are homes about to get a lot smarter with the Internet Of Things?

November 09, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, internet, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, Uncategorized

Gartner forecasts that there could be more than 500 Internet Of Things connected devices in the home by 2022

Gartner forecasts that there could be more than 500 Internet Of Things connected devices in the home by 2022

Gartner has just launched a report highlighting the huge business opportunity of teh Internet Of Things- which it believes the connected home presents for retailers, insurers, manufacturers, utilities and telecoms companies.

Theyrealised that the smart home will be a mass market – 50% to 80% of people say they’re interested in smart home services.

We could end up paying Ä5 to Ä10 a month, which equates to more than £11 billion (Ä15bn, $17bn) a year in Western Europe by 2019.

His firm is developing an open platform, similar to Samsung’s SmartThings, to act as a gateway for all these connected gadgets, from motion-detecting lighting systems to smart energy meters.

Nearly 40 partners, including big names such as Philips, Bosch, Sonos and Samsung, have signed up to the platform so far.

BMW is already testing car-to-home communications in its 7 Series luxury saloon.

But it seems we’ve been talking about the connected home for years. Why hasn’t it taken off yet?

Well, we didn’t have smartphones, fast home wi-fi or a wide-enough selection of gadgets equipped with networked computer chips. Now, the conditions maybe rightm

Smart meters and thermostats – given an added push by governments – will be able to regulate energy usage in the home, and it’s this ability to save on heating and electricity bills which will be one of the key drivers of growth in connected home technology, he believes.

As more of us use smartphones and apps, retailers and manufacturers are gaining confidence that there is a market for connected products.

But the service most likely to propel the smart home into the mainstream is home security, some believe.

US telecoms giant AT&T is building its Digital Life smart home product around security, offering subscribers video cameras, window and door opening sensors, remote door locking, and motion detectors, all operable from a smartphone, tablet or PC.

In the UK about 30% of homes have some kind of home alarm, and about 10% of those pay monthly for a professional home security service.

But lack of interoperability could be one reason why the smart home boom takes longer to happen than some analysts and tech companies are forecasting.