by Sudhir Ahluwalia | Negosentro.com |
Services are increasingly being accessed through mobile platforms – I pads, smart phones, e cards etc. As online trend strengthens, security of data, threat from cybercrime is likely to rise. Banking and financial services hitherto were restricted to a section of society. With the aid of technology, this is becoming also accessible to the poorest and the unbanked.
The demand for secure, convenient, twenty four by seven, three sixty five days a year access to services is rising. Service providers like banks, market participants, credit card companies, network and telecom backbone providers are trying to adapt to this sweeping disruptive technology induced change.
This has led to emergence of a new set of needs. Innovators are being inspired to provide solutions that will help make banking services more effective, convenient and secure. Rising concerns on credit card fraud and need to provide services to unbanked communities are forcing financial sector organizations into action.
Master Card supported one of their freelance consultants Manuel Preto’s efforts towards building an innovative solution that will help meet the challenges faced by financial services institutions. The solution that Manuel came up with is a secure mobile device that is exclusive to the banking and financial services sector. This is a story of this innovation.
The device that he created looks like a flexible mobile phone. It is, though, a shade larger in size. Manuel says that the mobile phone is a multimedia device and is not designed for banking. He has named his innovation M Eskudo. It has a smart card, a communication unit, a touch screen all using miniaturized technology.
The hardware design and engineering has been outsourced to a designer and manufacturer based out of Germany. To make the unit more secure, Manuel had already scheduled an appointment with a block chain expert. He wants to incorporate block chain technology into his innovation. This will make the unit secure and hack proof – a critical need for the financial sector.
The unit technology is patented. It was tested in field conditions in one of the leading Portuguese bank. Master Card and Accenture participated in the testing of the unit. The M Eskudo platform is designed for use as credit and debit card, to generate passbook and to transact banking online. The device will be bank agnostic. It can be used to transact across multiple banks.
Manuel is looking at the potential of Africa in financial inclusion as a major market for his device. He is investing a lot of his time visiting Kenya and other countries scouting to market the device and offering end to end services. Although, India has a huge financial potential in financial inclusion, he was quite tentative in exploring that market. He found the complexity of the country and its business landscape quite daunting.
M Eskudo is an example of great European innovation struggling to find a market in the depressed global market conditions. It is a great loss for the world when one third of the global economy is struggling to support its innovators and creators. M Eskudo is a great product. Manuel has the expertise and the understanding. He will need to use his business negotiation skills to make a deal. The Achilles heel probably is marketing, getting funding to do pilot testing is the least of Manuel’s problems.
Sudhir Ahluwalia is a business consultant. He has been management consulting head of Asia’s largest IT outsourcing company Tata Consultancy Services, business advisor to multiple companies, columnist and author of upcoming book on herbs-Holy Herbs. He has been a member of the Indian Forest Service. His webpage is: www.sudhirahluwalia.com