Planes, Trains & Mobility


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This is a feature that ran in Transaction World Magazine following the November Social Mobile Payments event. Look for our video interview with publisher Harold Montgomery coming soon in our YouTube Channel.

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Planes, Trains & Mobility

  1. 1. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF TRANSACTION WORLD MAGAZINE SOCIAL MEDIAPLANES, TRAINSAND MOBILITY by Bruce Burke A pioneer in electronic point-of-sale systems, Bruce Burke has extensive experience in electronic transactions, point-of-sale, eCommerce and mCommerce. He can be contacted at or by phone at 727-612-5775.
  2. 2. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF TRANSACTION WORLD MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2013 I was recently on a United Airlines tunity to enroll in their rewards program iPads. There was one in front of virtuallyflight making my annual trek to San is presented with your peanuts, bever- every seat in the terminal. The main con-Diego for the CTIA’s Enterprise & ages, in your seat pocket and on periodi- course of the terminal offered more casu-Applications event. This year it’s been cal racks attached to the cabin of the al, quick-service types of food and bever-rebranded as MobileCON, but is still plane. But some airlines and other hospi- ages, which were delivered right to yourfocused on enterprise, applications and tality companies are beginning to push seat with ease and efficiency.M2M as it was in previous years. During the envelope, offering some unique Of course the iPads could also be usedthe flight most of the passengers were twists using a combination of mobile to discern flight information via thewatching the movie “Battleship” on devices and payment capabilities. Delta app, which was preinstalled andthe outdated glass tube screens affixed For example, during a recent trip, my very accessible. The touchscreens alsoand protruding from the cabin roof wife and I returned to the airport for our included a few simple games and accesswhich, ironically enough, earlier dis- flight home. As we were both hungry, to Internet. I think it was the quietestplayed a video message from United’s we stopped at what looked like a fairly airline terminal I’ve ever visited in mypresident & CEO, Jeff Smisek, explaining decent restaurant to look at the menu. entire life, and for any fellow Macophiles,how they were making huge investments It was propped up on an easel per usual, a virtual utopia that must be witnessedin new technology. but the similarities ended there; first-hand. Although it can’t be seen from their the menu was displayed on an iPad and I’m writing this piece just following thearchaic, low-resolution video monitors, was interactive. anniversary of Steve Jobs’ passing, andair travel does seem to be embracing We were then escorted to a high, pub- thinking about how proud he’d be to findmobility more quickly than some of the style seating area with an iPad, electric his most iconic creation being used by soother legacy industries. The airlines outlets and a credit card reader installed many in such a modern societal setting.embrace the use of bar codes, QR codes in the countertop in front of each seat. To relate this to your ISO business,and mobile app check-in for flights. The hostess showed us the basics and left take the models of the airlines and theThe announcement for in-flight service us to browse the menu. A waitress came airport and overlay them onto yourreminded the passengers that the airline around as I was trying to figure out how business model. What processes couldis no longer interested in handling to order a diet coke and showed us some be more efficient for your customersyour dirty old greenbacks and will of the finer points of the menu including and your business using mobility andonly accept credit & debit cards by virtue how to select the temperature to which always-available information? Whatof a handheld payment device. In his I’d like my burger cooked. She demon- services can be more easily offered andvideo message Smisek indicated that strated how we’d finalize our order and made more accessible by seamless elec-United’s clients were, by nature, mobile, easily swipe our card to pay. Since our tronic payment capabilities? I have toand their technology investment was order was sent to the kitchen electroni- think more food and drink is being soldmade to get travel information into cally and was queued into a backend sys- using this system. Many sales will occurthe hands of customers faster and better tem, it came out quickly. I thought about solely due to the novelty, if not thethan ever before. the reduced staffing, steps saved and convenience factor. Airlines, airports, hotels, rental cars overall efficiency of the restaurant and If you’re not a believer in conceptand other transportation services have a thought, “why isn’t everyone in the of mobile first, take a trip over to thetremendous opportunity and are a tight- restaurant business doing this?” Delta terminal in New York’s La Guardialy-knit enough ecosystem that they I was still in awe of the effective and airport; you’ll quickly become ancould, collectively, help mobile payment unwired nature of the eatery when we advocate of the concept and will proba-services gain some significant ground. left, only to find that from the restaurant bly start trying to find a way to leverageMost, if not all, airlines are offering forward, the entire Delta terminal at New these concepts and strategies forbranded reward credit cards. The oppor- York’s La Guardia airport was a sea of your own business. I