I have read a number of predictions and top 10 lists for Asia-Pacific focusing on FinTech and global payments in 2018 from organizations like Aite Group and Cap Gemini, and I can’t help but be excited about the fact that the majority of these trends require an interconnected architecture that is simple, efficient and cost effective. My number one resolution for 2018 is to help our Financial Services customers find their digital edge – a distributed, physical edge for their IT infrastructures – on Platform Equinix™.
Bringing Payments to the Edge
So, what does the digital edge have to do with payments? The answer lies in the fact that the world has gone digital, which is changing almost every aspect of how payments are processed. The digital edge is enabling payment providers to connect to their customers where they are, to deliver services that are fast and secure.
Case in point: mobile wallets. Initially the mobile wallet was designed to replace cash, debit or credit cards at the point of sale with a simpler process. For example, a tap of your phone or a transfer from within an app for online purchases.
Adoption of the wallet for standard payment use was initially limited at best, but this is rapidly changing. In Asia-Pacific, Alipay, Tencent, Facebook and a host of other providers have evolved mobile wallets into full-scale lifestyle platforms. Alipay Wallet offers not only payments, but taxi bookings, bike rental, restaurant and travel reservations, medical appointments and investment solutions in a single place. This is all designed to meet the needs of consumers who are demanding that information be delivered faster and that multiple sources are linked together to deliver the bigger picture.
The next evolution of these platforms will be the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics. Thanks to the vast amount of data running through these platforms, companies will have the ability to build and offer new services, whilst AI will enable them to pick out exactly what consumers want and how to target them with the best offerings.
Speed and Security is as Important as Ever
It is critical that the consumer experience is fast and secure, but this is easier said than done. Just to deliver the payment part of the experience requires real-time collaboration across many mobile network operators, financial institutions, card networks, retailers and fraud protection services. These are just a few of the components needed to execute a successful, secure transaction. The global interconnection platform at Equinix provides access to these ecosystems and provides real-time interactions that allow instant and secure payments to be made by anyone to anywhere.
How? These real-time interactions can happen because Platform Equinix provides direct and secure physical and virtualized interconnection that privately exchanges traffic between banks and retailers, ecosystems and their consumers. We work with organizations from across the region to use the power of interconnection to transform their businesses, replacing legacy infrastructure that is oftentimes expensive, cumbersome and inefficient with new architectures that are more nimble, simple and standardized. These new architectures will provide greater access to both new cloud computing capabilities and potential new customers.
Discussing the Future of Payments at EPIC
Last year we launched the Equinix Payments Innovation Council (EPIC) in Asia-Pacific. With chapters in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne, the council helps bring together senior business and tech leaders from the payments industry to share views and discuss the future of payments with the goal of forging new connections and the opportunity to build new solutions.
Typical events are lunch roundtables of 90 minutes with 20-40 participants, with all discussion focused on payments. The council is made up of heads of business development, CTO, CIO, CEO for FinTech, heads of innovation, product heads and general managers. The nature of our conversations tends to focus on business and commercial challenges, trends and opportunities, and less on the technical IT infrastructure specifics.
In 2017 EPIC discussed payment trends, the journey to cloud, digital disruption, open banking and API, and I’m pleased to say that there were a number of successful new business relationships and discussions that resulted from these meetings.
This year, we plan to continue to evolve the conversation and expand our community to include more FinTech and non-traditional players, with the intent of supporting APIs to drive innovation, as well as the creation of new infrastructure to help drive scale globally for new products and solutions.
Our first EPIC meeting this year will debate the challenges large organizations are faced with when re-evaluating their core strategies. It will also cover the impact to product roadmaps as FinTech companies continue to disrupt the payments ecosystem at an accelerated pace – supported by regulatory changes, increased investor support and user adoption. Please register to join this community to stay abreast of upcoming events here.
To read more on Interconnection and the keys to successfully deploying an interconnection-rich infrastructure, please feel free to download the below reports:
We look forward to connecting more with you in 2018!