Google to launch a new company for smart cities

Google (GOOG) has launched a new company called Sidewalk Lab to develop services and products for smart cities. Sidewalk is focusing to improve the life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to adress issues like lowering the cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage.

According to Google, new services and products like internet of things and flexible buildings and infrastructure allow cities to tackle the problems. The company will be lead by Dan Doctoroff, former CEO of Bloomberg News.

Business Tech

The early stage of mobile payments


Mobile payments, digital wallets are one of the topics in the digital world nowadays. The markets are still in early stage due to the lack of regulation, consumer perceptions of security and privacy and also due to the co-operation between banks, teleoperatos and e-commerce. It is interesting to see what kind of clusters the big players like Google, Apple and banks are forming at the moment. And not to mention Bitcoin, which has really been a distruptive company in the virtual money market.

These changes show that we are living in a big mobile wallet trend. The revolution of e-commerce, the rise of new digital growth companies and the changes in the financial community (the accelerating M&A operations  before the new Basel III rules). Finally, many of us would say. In the industry there have been talks about the wallets for over ten years ago. Changes, that involve many industry sectors, take time.

The latest news about the field show that now we can expect something to happen. For example the Accenture study found that the big US banks are moving to mobile transactions more and more. And according to consulting company McKinsey consumers are thinking about purchasing apps and other digital content to use mobile payments. The number of mobile wallets are primarily still one, but one can estimate that the number of digital wallets to grow per person in the near future. And different kind of ID elements have been developed:  for example Apple has made its TouchID  possible for virtual shopping in iTunes store.

The leading countries in this era are in Asia. Singapore, South Korea, Japan but also Canada (due to its effective co-operation between the different players in the field) are the countries to look at.  According to Mastercard all the different elements related to mobile payments are in place in these countries: consumers are keen to purchase apps and mobile & internet penetration is high.

More consumers are swifting from cash to mobile payments for one reason: it is simple and easy. Mobile payments, mobile ID and mobile security are the key words in the near future. In order to revolution this mobile payment to new growth levels, consumers have to rely on the security and privacy of the payment chain. The mobile payment ecosystem will have to show the reliability in order to become a mainstream.

It is estimated that the mobile payments markets are about 90 billion dollars by year 2017 by Forrester.

Päivi Härkönen