Accenture launches mobile wallet platform for businesses

Accenture integrates analytics and recommendation tools

Accenture is extending its digital payments services with features integrating "big data" analytics capabilities and recommendation tools to allow its clients to build personalized, mobile e-commerce applications.

The enhanced Accenture Mobile Wallet platform now includes the Accenture Recommendation Engine, developed by Accenture Interactive and delivered via the cloud or on-premises through Accenture Analytics, which offers personalized recommendations to customers in real time.

The technology services and management company made the announcement Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where mobile commerce is a hot topic. Also Monday, for example, MasterCard announced it is enhancing its MasterPass mobile online payments service with in-apps payments.

The Accenture recommendation engine uses a library of machine learning algorithms designed to let businesses filter recommendations based on predefined business and merchandising rules. The engine, for example, can automatically suggest which offer should be presented to customers, based on analytics performed on buyer identification data at the point of interaction, such as when they enter a geo-fenced store's perimeter.

Buyers are identified through geo-location features that businesses will allow them to opt into, for example in mobile apps, noted Robert Hasson, Accenture's mobility product chief.

The Accenture platform enhances security by allowing end-users to store their data for payments in a central trusted location, and manage all their cards, including credit, debit, transport, loyalty and gift cards, Hasson said.

Potential Accenture clients for the system include financial institutions, retailers or shopping mall operators, Hasson said.

"A mall owner can act as the service provider, setting business rules that, for example, would use geo-fencing in order to prevent one retailer to reach out to shoppers when they are at another retail store in the mall," Hasson said.

With Bluetooth low-energy beacons integrated to further increase the granularity of geo-fences, merchants will be able to define keywords attached to zones in-store, contact the Accenture Mobile Wallet and find out the preferred offers related to that zone. The Accenture Recommendation Engine can then tailor the offer according to existing user data such as purchase history.

For example, through the recommendations engine and the analytics tools, a retailer may send a special offer to a consumer looking at black slacks on sale in the men's section of a retail store, if that consumer had bought slacks in other colors previously.

The Accenture Mobile Wallet can also manage proximity transactions and payments, which can be made through Near Field Communication (NFC) technology or QR codes.

Components of the Mobile Wallet Platform are available via a set of APIs on Android and iOS, Hasson said.

New features of the platform also include:

-- Trusted Service Manager, letting banks or other service providers send and personalize smartcard applications. It allows for remote removal, blocking and other status actions related to cards, to protect users in cases of lost or stolen devices.

-- Push Payment Functionality, which allows purchasers to avoid sending their personal and credit data to retailers. Instead, they can store their data with their trusted financial institutions, which can then verify transactions for the retailers and buyers.

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