By Roy Aston, Chief Information Officer, Paysafe
2020 saw the rapid acceleration of companies’ digital transformation plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses being unexpectedly forced into a situation of remote working environments, coupled with rapidly changing consumer habits and an increased reliance on digital solutions, have contributed to a need to increase the speed of their tech upgrades.
But what does that mean in practice? Here are five trends we expect to be at the forefront of payments technology innovation in the next 12 months.
Further migration to distributed cloud
A key area of focus for payments businesses will inevitably be on creating even easier ways for customers to consume payment services, including how to develop and distribute some of the technology that will enable more frictionless payments. Allowing payment technology companies to focus on the innovation of products and solutions without having to worry about the underlying supporting infrastructure is important to ensure rapid scalability and resilient solutions. Operating now in a distributed cloud mode blurs the lines of ownership of the physical infrastructure further than has been seen before. This trend of cloud evolution will continue to enable payments companies to deliver solutions to merchants and consumers in a way that is highly flexible to meet the needs of the rapidly changing digital environment.
Expanded use cases for AI and deep learning
When thinking more specifically about those new capabilities distributed cloud will facilitate, the potential of Artificial Intelligence will become more significant. We are going to see trends come to the fore related to how companies think about analysing data, leveraging the immense power that comes from being able to tap into almost an infinite level of resources and processing capability. In payments that is going to be particularly prevalent around identifying consumer trends, mass personalisation, and without doubt fraud and Know Your Customer (KYC).
The concept of using technology to create digital identities, all the way from a retailer through the payments mechanism, will enable you to know the consumer more thoroughly using AI and deep learning technologies to assess all the data point we now have. The palette of data has become much richer now to enable better decision making.
A renewed focus on 5G
5G is going to create a level of connectivity and speed of data transmission that has never been possible outside of a physically connected world. That is also going to bring significant benefits in payments to areas that are not physically connected. For example, the ability to get data connectivity to remote areas of the world to enable people to set up businesses and to transact online is going to be a big growth area. Equally, the ability to deliver more immersive online experiences though remote devices will be transformational for the gaming industry. 5G is also going to enable companies to shift more data globally to enhance the power of AI even further.
The drive for greater remote working
Clearly many companies will not rush back to full time office-based working practices, but more progress needs to be made for a truly successful permanent, efficient transformation to regular remote working. This means not only how you think about enabling employees to work from home effectively generally, but also a specific focus on running operational and heavily interconnected teams in a distributed manner and coming together in a way that has not happened before.
New levels of security
Finally, these enhancements must be underpinned by new levels of security. COVID-19 has resulted in the need to think about a different dimension of security being pushed to its limits, for several reasons. The first is that, unfortunately, criminals tend to thrive in a crisis, and unprincipled fraudsters have used the pandemic as an opportunity to leverage it for their own gain. This is creating pressure on companies to step up and look at more tooling to combat the threat, and not only how we think about protecting the company but also colleagues and end users as well.
The second is another consequence of remote working. As employees are becoming more distributed, we don’t always know where people are going to be working from or what they are going to be connected to, which creates an additional challenge. As this looks set to be the status quo moving forward, it will be a key area of focus for payments companies in 2021.