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Conference Notebook: Mobile Payment Forum

By Jim Bruene on March 14, 2007 10:25 AM | Comments

Mobile Payment Forum link I attended the public portion of the 2-day Mobile Payment Forum Spring Member Meeting in San Diego yesterday <mobilepaymentforum.org>. The group was formed by MasterCard, Visa, American Express and JCB more than five years ago to help develop standards and promote best practices in mobile payments.

The current board of directors:

  • Simon Pugh, VP Standards & Infrastructure, MasterCard 
  • Stephanie Ericksen, VP Product Technology & Integration, Visa
  • Martin Harrison, Head of Sales and Strategy, First Data
  • Christopher J. Bierbaum, Product Development, Emerging Products Group, Sprint
  • Bob Adamany, VeriSign
  • Oliver Kelly, Vodafone

It was a pay-to-present day, with each sponsor allotted time based on the size of their financial contribution. Six gold sponsors spoke for 30 minutes, a silver sponsor was allotted 15 minutes, and the only platinum one was handed the podium for a full hour. Consultant Richard Crone of Crone Consulting gave the keynote and handled the introductions and wrap-up.  

Platinum Sponsor:
ClairMail: Joseph Salesky, CEO

Gold Sponsors:
Firethorn Mobile: Tripp Rackley, CEO
PayCash Mobile (Cyphermint): CEO, Joseph Barboza
eBizMobility: CEO, Jeremy Kagan
Erico: VP Marketing, Larry Loper
mFoundry: VP Product, John Pizzi

Silver Sponsor:
Sapphire Mobile Systems: Rick Rasansky, CEO

For the most part, the speakers did a commendable job keeping things informative and not heading straight to sales-pitch mode (see note 1). The highlight was Firethorn CEO Tripp Rackley and ClairMail CEO making impassioned pitches on opposite sides of the SMS banking (ClairMail) vs. downloaded app (Firethorn) continuum (note 2). And as usual, Richard Crone of Crone Consulting set the stage with an entertaining and fact-filled keynote (note 3). 

Despite being a payments forum, most of the talk centered around online banking (Firethorn, ClairMail, mFoundry, Sapphire), mobile advertising (Erico), and ecommerce (eBizMobility). Only PayCash Mobile and keynoter Richard Crone spent more than a few minutes on payments. 

The main reason: Mobile banking is on the verge of breaking out, and banks are reaching for their checkbooks. With far more infrastructure hurdles, cellphone-based payments will lag mobile banking adoption by five years (see forecast in our most-recent Online Banking Report, 138/139).

I'll post a few more items from the conference during the next few days.


1. Hint for conference attendees: Always look for private-company CEO presentations. Private-company CEOs usually do a great job speaking about the broader issues, understanding that their industry knowledge is a far better sales pitch for their organization than a dozen "About us" slides. Marketing VPs on the other hand, seem enamored with how many times they can work their company and client names into the presentation deck. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of many public-company CEOs who are so ham-strung by disclosure regulations, they can hardly say anything that's not already widely known.  

2. For more on the mobile banking debate, see our latest Online Banking Report, "Mobile Banking & Payments" (OBR 138/139 here).

3. Disclosure: Mr. Crone has been an occasional contributor to our sister publication Online Banking Report. His first article appeared in our 1996 issue.


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