Wearables and Contactless Technology: An Interview with David Meyer


In this interview, David Meyer, who manages mobile banking product development at FIS, talks about his upcoming Mobile Dev + Test presentation. He discusses his relationship and experience with wearables and details the many facets of contactless payment applications. 

Josiah Renaudin: Well, today we're joined by David Meyer, who manages mobile banking product development at FIS. David, thank you very much for joining us.

David Meyer: Thank you.

Josiah Renaudin: All right. Well, first, could you tell us a bit about your experience in the industry?

David Meyer: As far as the software industry, I have about twenty-plus years across all different domains. Probably the last five years, I have focused exclusively in mobile. And previously, I was in mobile payment, and then that kind of evolved today into mobile banking at FIS. If you were asking if I had any mobile experience, that's within the last five years. Fifteen years before that, I was again, across different domains, cloud, and SaaS. I was with companies like Oracle. I was with Rational Software. Those are some of the names that's known by the industry.

Josiah Renaudin: It's your experience that really makes you the perfect candidate for our Mobile Dev+Test Conference coming up, and you have a presentation there called "Wearables and Contactless Technology—for Payment Processing and Much More." It really digs into the emergence of wearables in our industry. First, can you talk about your relationship with wearables, as well as which products do you have experience with?

David Meyer: Well my relationship with wearables, personally, probably not a whole lot. Actually, all of my wearable experiences are in regards to my profession, and the experiences are in mobile payment about two years ago. It was a wearable device. It's considered wearable in that it's either attached to your phone, or attached to a key chain. It was a device used to make mobile payments at all point-sale systems. It was a technology that allowed the consumer, any consumer, to make payment at 80 percent of the point sales in the world. As far as wearable at FIS, my experiences recently have been with Google Glass.

That was a fascinating project, where Google Glass is a wearable that you could perform some painting functions with Google Glass. The Google Glass was a wearable ... that it will become a product, that it was in the R&D lab that I was managing where you can look via your Google Glass, you can see your account balance, and you can transfer money, and all that through Google Glass.

Josiah Renaudin: Yeah, now much of your talk deals with combining wearables with contacless technology for payment processing applications. In your mind, how far are we from seeing widespread adoption of payment applications like this?

David Meyer: I'll tell you. The company that sends the contactless payment through the roof is Apple. When Apple announced Apple Pay ... Well, let me back up. Before Apple Pay, there were various startups, various companies that were attempting mobile payment. Mobile payment is a segment that is vaguely defined, and that includes both software and hardware. No one really dominated that segment, but certainly it was discussed and began with various startups in that area. When Apple came in the scene and with Apple Pay, that sent interest and participation of everyone into the system. I think the adoption, because of Apple, the adoption now is definitely rapidly increasing.

I can see mobile payment as an essential part of our lives. It will be something that we do naturally every day. I think with Apple, that will be coming very quickly.

Josiah Renaudin: You just mentioned Apple as a strong kickstarter for the adoption of these payment options, but what can companies do outside of Apple to increase the adoption of the contactless payment applications?

David Meyer: Companies outside of Apple kind of have to divide adoption to two major segments. Innovators, companies that invent and produce adoption technology like Apple and other startup companies. Then there's the consumer adoption of that. When I say consumer, I'll use retail as an example. Retail is certainly very, very interested in mobile payment. There is something to be said, like, you can make a purchase and collect the payment right there, instantaneously, anywhere that is. The adoptions are kind of dependent on each other.

The consumers who want to adopt mobile payment are waiting to see how the technology benefits them, how their payments are being impacted. Meaning, a ten-dollar sale does not become an eight-dollar receivable because everyone else is taking a cut. Then, based on that, companies like Apple and other startups, they are participating with banks and credit card companies in that they can provide the technology and still reduce the cost of the expense of payment. Both of those, I don't have any company names and I probably don't want to name them, but FIS is certainly one of the big companies involved in that. That all this participation will increase the adoption of mobile payment.

Josiah Renaudin: Now, what new security and authentication challenges have been birthed by these new payment apps? Now, people, of course are worried about where there money is going. They want to know that the applications they're using are safe. What are these new challenges that these contactless apps have created?

David Meyer: You're right. New challenges that we never have thought of before. One of the biggest ... Two biggest challenges in regards to mobile payment, one is specific to the device. The other is specific to the user. Now, how do we implement technology to guarantee the owner, the user is in fact the owner and user of the device? That both are the same person and the same device. Then the second follow up to that is when the ownership changes, or the device changes, how do those authentication credentials transpire so that they're not leaked or exposed to the wrong person?

Certainly, those are the challenges that we all have to address. The technology is actually involved in, for example, device authentication to make sure that the phone that you are using is in fact, your phone. We use device fingerprints. We use cryptology. Combining those and generally, it's a special device identification that we save somewhere in the Cloud so that when a request, a payment request had come from the device, we then compare the identity of the device to what we have in the cloud.

That's one way of guaranteeing the device belongs to you. The other then of course, the authentication of the user. Devices, like the Apple device with biometrics, is a great way of guaranteeing that the device belongs to the user. If that doesn't exist, we use technology and processing to step up authentication. User ID and password may not be enough. We may have to follow up with a set of questions. Which address have you lived in in the past five years? Just to guarantee that, hey, if you'll use this credit card number on this device, that it is, in fact, you.

Josiah Renaudin: Absolutely. Like you just talked about, security is critical for the success of these types of apps. One thing that I think a lot of people don't think about is the actual design of the application. How it looks. I know you've had a lot of experiences with these different types of applications. Do you think that we are good with design? Do you think it's at a good place now? Do you think that the application design has a lot of room to grow?

David Meyer: There's always room to grow. It's probably the way I would start. I'll put it this way. The application design ... Let's be more specific on application design as speaking to user experience, the UX and the UI part of the application. That is a very finicky segment because users' style changes over time. Just because you have a very likable, useful user experience today, a year from now, because of the hardware changes or because of just trend changes, it will change how these designs evolve. I think the best way to respond to that is that when ...

The room to grow in the application design is in direct relevance to the company paying attention to their consumer-base. Pay attention to what the consumers are looking for, what their taste is at that time and where they lead pace its evolving to. It's becoming very much like a fashion statement, that the fashion industry every year comes out with this new fashion that they believe consumers will buy. I think UX and UI is becoming the same methodology where you try to evolve in UX and the UI hoping that the generation of the consumers will adopt to it. That's where the growth is.

Josiah Renaudin: To kind of wrap things up, let's just very briefly look at the future. What have you been the most excited about the next step for wearables? What really has you interested? What most, let's say in the next five years do you think can change in the world of wearables and what has you the most excited?

David Meyer: I think the most exciting part of wearables is of course, wearables I think will become a fashion statement as well. In fact, I know it is going in that direction from various industry leaders that I've talked to and had these discussions. I think there are many areas to be excited about. I'm going to give you my personal file. I'm a father of two kids. I want my kids to have wearables where I know I can track them. They're young kids by the way. Yeah.

Josiah Renaudin: Not teenagers.

David Meyer: No, not teenagers. Teenagers I think, if I can convince them, these wearables are good for them. Again, it gives me a way to track them. It's a way for them to stay in contact with you so that ... If it's a wearable, it's something that I know I can always track them. I can always be in contact with them. I'm always in touch with them simply because it is fashionable and it's useful and it's wearable. From our practicality perspective, I'm very excited about that. I think as far as wearables, it'll reduce the stuff that we are carrying today just to be in contact with everyone else. I have a briefcase I have. I have a Mac. I have an iPad and an iPhone and I have all these cords with me.

That's what I have to carry with me every day. If all those can be reduced down to maybe one wearable is all I need. Let's go even further. One wearable that powered by solar. I don't have to carry anything else and I'm in touch, I'm in contact. I am connected to that digital world. That excites me.

Josiah Renaudin: Absolutely and I very much relate. I'm excited to see where this industry goes and I'm also very excited to hear more about wearables and contactless technology at your discussion in the upcoming conference in San Diego. David, thank you very much for your time. I look forward to meeting you soon.

David Meyer: Thank you very much. I look forward to be in the conference too.


David MeyerDavid Meyer manages mobile banking product development at FIS, a global leader in banking and payments technologies. His dynamic role focuses on white label device clients and large scale SaaS integration for thousands of financial institutions. As a next generation tech enthusiast, David is most excited about emerging devices, handhelds, and wearables. From a thought leadership perspective, he has spoken at Red Hat forum on the impact of mobile and SaaS as well as related security and compliance considerations. He brings in-depth experience of both hardware and software to the mobile payments space. His other corporate experience includes technology leadership roles at Looppay, Insights OnDemand, IBM/Rational, and Oracle where he built the first distributed database network.

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