Mobile Commerce Gets A Workout

The Conexxus (formerly PCATS) mobile committee works on developing standards streamlining mobile transactions.

By David Bennett, Senior Editor

Even before the former Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) rebranded as itself as Conexxus, its Mobile committee was living to the group’s new motto: Solve Forward.

Tuesday’s Mobile workshop was one of a half-dozen working sessions at the group’s annual conference in Tucson, Ariz.

Such concepts as mobile cash access and digital wallets could offer consumers the widest feature sets. They are also challenging the largest of retailers and the most progressive digital solution companies. That’s why Conexxus is looking at establishing standards streamlining mobile transactions from the moment consumers engage their smart phone to the moment a transaction is successfully completed.

The mobile committee spent the day going over workflows and poring over use cases to come up with accepted standards that will allow retailers to operate in a mobile commerce environment. Some use cases included indoor and outdoor transactions, multiple payment forms, and pre-authorizations, computing customer loyalty discounts, and denied payments— all in a secure setting.

Still, a key goal, said Wesley Burress, committee chair and U.S. business support coordinator at ExxonMobil, is a consistent customer experience.

“We want input to address where we have gaps,” Burress said, referring to the arduous process of different payment scenarios and where digital links could break down.

The committee has already defined many mobile payment components part of a virtual transaction.

Some of the definitions included a “mobile payment application” or the “app” that a customer uses to pay, “mobile payments processor” or the supplier of the app, and “mobile device” which could be a cellphone or any other communications-equipped technology.

Other committee members walked attendees through the use-case diagrams. A basic one covered a customer making an in-store purchase. The process mapped out how he or she would initiate a transaction using a payment app, send the request to the proper processor for authorization and get approval for the purchase.

While stakeholders are looking at the future, they also honored the past.

Conference organizers this past Monday inducted new members into the Technology Hall of Fame Awards: Henry Armour, president and CEO of NACS; Jenny Bullard, CIO of Waycross, Ga.-based Flash Foods; and Loring Perez, president of Columbus, Ga.-based Chattahoochee Oil Co.

The conference concludes Thursday.

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