IBM, iOS garage

Visa and IBM announced a partnership where the former will deploy the latter’s Watson platform to bring digital payments to all sorts of new places like connected cars, wearables and so on. The anouncement was made during the unveiling of IBM Watson’s new Munich HQ.

Speaking on the topic, IBM Watson general manager Harriet Green said:

We share a vision of commerce-based IoT where any device, from a watch, ring, an appliance, or car, can be used to make a purchase. Our goal is to enable commerce on any connected device anywhere.

Considering that the future we are envisioning will be one of connected devices, that sure sounds very interesting — not to mention just a bit frightening. As part of the Visa-IBM collaboration, payments will be made using the Visa Token service, which is basically a digital identifier that is also the basis for a variety of other services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay.

Calling the card and terminal approach as historic, Visa executive VP Jim McCarthy said:

When we think about the future of IoT, certainly from a connected perspective, we have an opportunity to extend our platform into all sorts of devices where the historic card and terminal just doesn’t work.

He also stressed upon the fact that achieving the goals set up by Visa and IBM will require massive effort and work not merely on the part of businesses, but also of the government. An ecosystem will need to be built that ensures that payments are seamless.

Interestingly, the kind of future the two companies are talking about — the kind where gas is payed for without setting foot outside your car — is also being envisioned by other companies. Just yesterday for instance, Jaguar and Shell announced a partnership that could let you pay for the gas without stepping out of your car. However, rather than staying limited to cars — or to gas — IBM and Visa’s partnership will attemot to cover every sphere of our daily life.

Certainly, safety will have to ensured before making this kind of move public. If there are more ways of paying, thenthere are also more ways of relieving someone of his/her money against their will. Any company looking to ensure that payments become automatic and take place without you needing to whip out your wallet, will also have to ensure the security of these systems.

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