May 27th, 2013
This is the promised follow-up to ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ review, applying the book’s analysis to our own case.
It could be presented as one of Clayton Christensen’s examples: a technology industry, the smartcard industry, facing a technology change: the migration from plastic cards to ‘virtual cards’ pushed to users’ mobile phones. This industry is dominated by a small number of big companies, which see this transition as an opportunity both to increase their customer base and to fight against the price erosion happening in the physical card scenario.
Their main customers are banks and mobile operators. Both kinds of companies usually have technical teams with the expertise and power to stand behind their own set of requirements, dictated by business areas or by company guidelines on interconnection with other technical platforms. They are frequently in contact with the smartcard industry leaders, resulting in a top-down mandated environment which is fairly sophisticated, enabling a wealth of use cases and interworking with many backoffice functions. The downside is complexity, which soon turns into higher costs to develop, deploy and maintain these systems. In the times we live in now, such costs unavoidably filter down to NFC service providers and their customers. This situation does not help in bringing out mobile NFC services to the public, and seems ripe for some disruption:
What if a company decides not to implement the entire long list of requirements, but focus on the few essential ones, even if this means not being able to address some customers at first? What if this company manages to encapsulate the complexities due to the mobile environment, so that service providers only need to connect to a single point? And what if all this is offered in a Software as a Service package, so that initial investments are kept to a minimum?
We intend to be this company, showing that it is possible to bring down costs and complexity of participating in the mobile NFC ecosystem. Stay tuned.