Posts Tagged ‘mFoundry’

The car is about to go social

January 27, 2009

Yesterday, I saw this tweet from Gordon Snyder:

RT @michaelgass: The Next Social Network? Your Car http://snipr.com/al9an about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck

I was very intrigued as I read the AdAge article referenced in the tweet above. It’s exciting to see Ford working on going social. The ramifications of auto makers embracing social technology are big. The car going online and social is a big part of the realization of World 2.0.

In order for car makers to do it right, they definitely need to embrace the car as platform, as API. Closed, proprietary systems are going to be barriers and not fully embraced. Open systems which acknowledge that they aren’t the center of the universe, and that people continue to exist even when they aren’t sitting in their car, will win.

Dunkin' Donuts on TomTom GPSrWhat are the possibilities for a social car? Perhaps it’s better to think of it as an online car, because social networking will not be all that it can do.

The GPS navigation system is the first step in having some car/location “awareness”. GPS with real-time traffic updates is step two. Step three is to add more/better information about the location you are in, and your friends’ locations. Imagine driving into a town that you are not familiar with, being hungry, and your GPS/social car tells you that one of your friends recommends a quaint pub five blocks away. Or that you are driving in your hometown, and your car tells you that two of your friends are in the local coffee shop nearby. In a certain sense, what I am describing is a mashup of Yelp! and BrightKite, that works in your car. And to be truly user-friendly, such a system would have to work equally well when you are out of your car, and seamlessly integrate with your smartphone of choice.

It will be critical for any development of these systems to allow the user to have exactly what information she wants displayed, as well as to allow exactly what information is given to others. If you need alone-time, you need to be able to disable the broadcasting of your location, and turn off seeing the location information of others.

With this type of convergence, we are truly on our way to World 2.0.

Similarly, I wrote about why the shared branching networks need to get their ATM and branch locations into the TomTom GPS navigation system.

More recently, I saw this exact technology implemented on an iPhone by mFoundry at last year’s Finovate NYC conference held by NetBanker. It was quite impressive to press a button to get exact location and travel instructions, as well as phone number, for the nearest bank/credit union branches. The next step for financial institutions is to have this type of technology merge with social networks/reviews and to be conveniently displayed no matter whether you are inside your car or walking outside with your smartphone.

Of course the other important factor to address in the online/wired/social/whatever car is to make sure the driver is not distracted. Right now, too many people are looking down at their smartphones, texting, trying to look at GPS information, reading their emails, blogs and tweets, while driving. If we look at car as platform for this, perhaps what makes the most sense is to plug the smartphone into the car (perhaps wirelessly via bluetooth), and have browsed web page spoken out loud, in the way that GPS navigators do. Also handy would be voice-to-text conversion so that you could respond back without taking your eyes off the road.

It’s just nice that a corporate giant such as Ford is not asleep at the wheel, and is on the road to embracing the online social landscape that so many are adopting. In addition, Ford has had the foresight to invite social media evangelist @ScottMonty to head their social media team.

Finovate NYC

November 13, 2008

A month ago I had the privilege of attending Finovate NYC, as a guest blogger. The event is hosted by Jim Bruene, President of the Online Banking Report and NetBanker, and features short 7-minute presentations from 24 leading innovators in the financial world. It’s a wonderful format, featuring twelve presentations in the morning and twelve after a lunch break. The brief duration of each presentation forces the presenters to be very clear about what their product is, who it is for, and how it is useful and different. Props to the event organizers for fading out the presenter and fading up the music right at the time limit to keep things focused, moving, and on-track for the audience.

Read my event tweets here.

Because of twitter conversation, I knew that Mark McSpadden and Lisa Randolph of Banktastic were going to be there, as well as Ron Shevlin and Parisian Jean-Christophe Capelli, who I first met at BarCampBankSF. What I didn’t know until the morning of the event was that Apoorv Dwivedi, who I met at BarCampBankBC, came down from Alberta.

A pleasant surprise was that there were also several other twitterers who I had never met before in the audience of approximately 200 people. Read the entire Finovate twitterstream here.

Is there value to all the twittering of one event? You betcha! Just one benefit is that finance professionals from all over the world got a sampling of the important information being presented. This creates additional exposure and added reach for the presenters as well as the conference itself. My favorite tweet reply is this one from @mrsmcj, who at the time was attending the Love at First Website conference in Portland, OR: “@mmpartee, @rshevlin. Thanks for the finovate tweets! It was almost like being at two conferences.”

My favorite presentation at the event was from Carlos Cardilli of mFoundry. He did his entire presentation without slides, just showing what he was doing on his iPhone. mFoundry has created an iPhone interface that banks or credit unions can give to their members to enable banking transactions. It’s much more than just online banking brought to a mobile phone however. At it’s core, that is what it does. You can schedule bills to be paid in advance, using the elegant date sliders that the iPhone employs. You can also make transfers between accounts naturally. Where it REALLY gets fun is the ATM and branch locator. Since the iPhone “knows” where it is, and has access to map data, this mFoundry application can locate the ATMs and branches nearest to you. You can then follow the directions the iPhone provides to get you there. Not only that, but it provides you with a phone number, so you can call the branch right from your iPhone if you so desire. This may not be mainstream yet, but with so many companies coming out with iPhone wanna-bes, this is clearly the wave of the future. I’d recommend that all credit unions hop on board as soon as feasible.

I was impressed with many of the other presenting companies as well. Also worthwhile are: Vidoop, SmartHippo, Credit Karma, Lending Club, FiLife, and Loanio. It was particularly interesting to see the FiLife and Loanio presentations since both of these companies were in pre-public release stages at BarCampMoneyNYC just a few short months ago in April.

Mainstream yet? Mobile banking and mobile payments

June 30, 2008

Mobile banking and mobile payments are continuing on their path to becoming mainstream. The latest news: Bank of America buys stake in mFoundry (hat tip: @PaymentNews), and a blogger claims that Twitter will be worth $1.5 billion in six months (hat tip: @HankWilliams).