Thursday, February 11, 2016

The sharing economy developing across almost every mobile device is sharing its success with another business: mobile payment. Whether one cares for the other is irrelevant; what matters is that this relationship will usher in an entirely new era of mobile technology—potentially the quickest and most convenient way in history to make pay stores, friends, and family.

What Is the Sharing Economy?

According to PwC, the global sharing economy will grow to $335 billion by 2025. The cause of such exponential activity is, in part, society’s growing need to have all things available at all times. From Uber rides to Airbnb accommodations, the more we share the more we buy.

Pinar Ozcan, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Warwick Business School, recently spoke at the WBS PayTech Conference. She explained how this tangled relationship relates to users at a very basic level:

“These platforms encourage business at an individual level, rather than going through companies…they are doing business from peer to peer and bypassing companies, and it is all done through mobile payment technology.”

Delays and Building Bridges

This interaction is fairly new, after being delayed due to a lacking infrastructure and poor cooperation across industry lines.

“Mobile operators needed access to bank accounts, while banks, in turn, needed mobile operators because the user’s bank information and the payment software needed to be integrated into the mobile service of the user,” said Ozcan. “But wrangling over who dealt with – and essentially owned – the consumer resulted in it being delayed.”

Now that Google and Apple have both introduced forms of mobile payment systems to their hardware, things appear to be back on track. With the arrival of Apple Pay in 2015, adoption of the technology across industry lines will increase, and a widespread adoption will likely follow.

Apple has also helped bridge conversations across enemy lines, even bringing conflicting companies together to help foster agreements, make deals, and communicate more efficiently about future plans. People and businesses are cooperating; and things always get done a little faster when people work in a group or team.

Future Plans

Mobile payment will ride the wave as long as possible, and as long as people continue to support a robust sharing economy. In the future, mobile payment might influence or incite new sharing opportunities, new apps, or programs that will continue to empower the individual to make purchases directly from the source rather than working through a traditional sales system.

Catherine Clifford, from Entrepreneur, says cutting out the middleman will force society to confront new challenges of ownership and distribution:

“When we get to an economy where we are interacting in a peer-to-peer marketplace without a centralized axis of power…then we as a society will have to confront some fairly fundamental belief systems that may no longer be relevant.”