A Quick Interview With Gregor Bieler, CEO of Unwire
We caught up with Gregor over a very quick lunch, and talked about what’s going on at Unwire right now…
Hello Gregor, how are you today?
I’m well. I’m very well. I’m pretty excited about this summer really, so things are looking good for us.
I’m glad you’re well. Can you tell us why you’re excited?
Yes and no! We’ve got our latest mobile ticketing project between DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit), The T (Fort Worth, Texas), and DCTA (Denton County, Texas) running in beta right now and we’re getting fantastic feedback via a Facebook group the US ad agency, Slingshot, set up. The quotes are so encouraging, and we’re also getting some brilliant crowdsourced ideas for improvements and extra features. That’s one reason we’re all pretty excited here, and of course, the app will go fully live in August – now that’s pretty cool! We’ve also got Denmark’s (and one of Europe’s) first mobile wallet launch coming up.
Right, Unwire does mobile ticketing for Denmark and Sweden, right? And that’s going well?
Yes and YES! We started provide mobile ticketing solutions back in 2008. Since then, we’ve seen more than 70 million mobile tickets flow through our system. I think that the years we’ve been actively doing mobile ticketing has given us some indispensible insights into passenger wants and needs. It’s a fascinating area – seeing the similarities that PTCs (public transit companies) all around the world face. We – as passengers – are all the same. We want efficiency, we want ease, we want knowledge and we want comfort. They’re all customer satisfaction points that can act as serious differentiation points between companies, and all – while they are big things – can all be addressed via mobile solutions. Our various mobile ticketing projects have evolved so much from the beginning, and this latest adventure in Texas will be the most advanced yet. Of course, the best thing about technology is that the solutions in Sweden and Denmark can be updated. You’re never stuck with the ‘out of date’ version if you don’t want to be.
What about the mobile wallet you mentioned?
Well it’s between TDC, Telia, Telenor and 3, major MNOs in Europe, and Denmark’s largest. We’re the go-to-market partner and technical provider for them. When it launches, it’s instantly going to have millions of users, making it one of the largest mobile wallets out there. Go home Google! The roll out is in three stages. First, payment via SMS and apps; second, ecommerce via a mobile phone number – you enter your phone number and confirm via an SMS instead of entering your credit card details; and thirdly, NFC payments.
Just to play the devil’s advocate – are mobile payments really all that? I mean, Google Wallet doesn’t seem to be going so well…
Exactly. They’ve gone into it the wrong way. They’ve launched in two places, and all it is, is a wallet. Imagine having a physical wallet that could only hold cash – no cards, no ID, no tickets, no vouches – the list goes on. Just think of everything you’ve got in your wallet right now – it’s not just money, right? Well that’s all so many wallets do – give you a place to put money. That’s not going to win over anyone. At Unwire we know that the only way a wallet will win is if it gives the user something they can actually use, something that will provide value. We know the future lies in value adding services, a wallet that can also be used to buy train tickets, or concert tickets, and that can store the discount voucher you got for buying 5 lattes, or the offer you scanned from a QR code on the bus. It needs to hold everything, and more. I think most people, when they hear ‘mobile payments’ immediate think of tapping your phone in a store, but they’re so much more. They’re each transaction you make via SMS or via an app, they open up the digital world, all via your mobile.
Well it does sound like you’ve got a lot going on! Here’s to the future!
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