SAN FRANCISCO -- The 2012 Open Mobile Summit just kicked off on Wednesday morning, and in less than a few hours, there is already a stirring debate over what should be the focus for mobile technology going forward.
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So far, the consensus seems to be that the underlying mobile technology isn't really the focal point. PayPal president David Marcus suggested in his morning keynote that the end users are the primary driving force.
"It's not about mobile. It's not about technology. It's about people," said Marcus, asserting that "this revolution is consumer-driven and technology-enabled."
In regards to mobile payments, this is an area that might be still very confusing for both consumers and the providers themselves as there are still a lot of different strategies but no clear winner in sight.
Marcus acknowledged that near-field communications (NFC) has gotten a lot of attention in the last couple of years, but he argued that those companies are changing their strategies to what PayPal has been already doing. Adding that "customers didn't say it's really hard to swipe a card," Marcus hinted that the key might be a less-is-more approach.
"What customers are saying is that they want their money to be simple," Marcus said. "They don't want complicated interfaces. They don't want to deal with complexity in their lives."
The takeaway from this lecture is that mobile has really influenced consumers to develop the attitude of thinking they should be able to access anything, anywhere, anytime -- and this heavily applies for the commerce industry.
For example, citing that approximately 25 percent of PayPal's transaction volume crosses international borders, Marcus remarked that consumers are shopping within "a global market," adding that they don't care where they buy from -- as long as it is on their own terms.
Marcus reflected that consumers do want to make their money "work harder," describing that includes ensuring the right coupons find the customers (i.e. based on location, etc.) and self-pay point-of-sale kiosks.
"It's not going to be e-commerce or m-commerce. It's just commerce," Marcus concluded. "You need to listen to what your customers are telling you."