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5G, Depth-Sensitive Apps and More: This Week in Enterprise Mobility

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Introducing 5G
Federal agencies are investigating next-gen technologies that could allow wireless data to transmit up to 1,000 times faster than what the average American experiences at home from a wired connection. Wireless carriers continue to roll out 4G LTE, but it appears that 5G may be just around the corner. The new type of network would utilize the 24 gigahertz range, which is much higher than the sub-3 gigahertz range that most wireless devices operate in today.

What does the possible development of 5G mean for the mobile enterprise? It could mean that the sky’s the limit. The FCC believes it won’t be long before we’re hooking up appliances, cars and drones to the same network we use to connect our smartphones and tablets. This also means mobile developers will be able to include more features and access more data sources without worrying about slowing down apps and frustrating users.

Retailers Battle Apple Pay for Control over Mobile Payments
Apple Pay may have more competition than expected in the battle for control over mobile payments. While Apple Pay is getting a lot of attention from consumers and businesses alike, not everyone is on board with the new system.

To wit, several retailers — including Walmart, Kmart, 7-Eleven and Best Buy — have banded together to build CurrentC, a mobile payment app that is set to launch next year. A new feature of MCX, CurrentC is specifically designed to cut out the middleman and thus eliminate credit card processing fees by withdrawing directly from users’ checking accounts. It will also enable customers to link gift cards and to select between store-issued credit and debit cards.

For the retailers supporting CurrentC, there are a few major benefits of the app as compared to Apple Pay:

  • Prominent branding
  • Integration of loyalty programs and product marketing
  • Compatibility with merchant-owned payment apps
  • CRM capabilities

While retailers await the release of CurrentC, many have no intention of supporting Apple Pay. In fact, last week Rite Aid and CVC reportedly modified or disabled NFC readers at the point of sale in order to prevent access to Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard and other similar systems. One has to question the wisdom of making it harder for customers to complete a purchase.

For enterprises looking to develop apps that rely on Apple Pay functionality (such as one-touch payment within mobile apps), remember that you may not want to put all of your eggs in one basket. While Apple is well-positioned to succeed in this complex space by virtue of the deals they’ve struck with all major card brands and many large retailers, they are certainly not the only game in town. If Apple Pay wants to stay competitive, they’ll need to start focusing on delivering value to the merchant via loyalty, marketing and CRM functionality, which the service currently lacks.

Metaio One Step Closer to Mobile Depth-Sensitive Apps
Augmented reality company Metaio this week announced an updated SDK that will support mobile depth-sensitive cameras. Launching later this month, the SDK will be compatible with iOS, Android and Windows, and Metaio estimates that consumers will begin to see depth-sensing hardware hitting the shelves as early as next year. What does this mean?

Depth-sensitive cameras will make way for the creation of apps that allow users to interact with their environment in an entirely new way. Mobile devices will be able to act as a window into the virtual world and as controllers for 3-dimensional games. But mobile devices equipped with depth-sensitive cameras also promise to transform the enterprise. With the ability to track your position in 3D and create a map as you navigate your surroundings coupled with developing technologies like Google Glass, the possibilities for the future of mobile computing are mind-boggling.

Of course, Metaio isn’t the only company looking to bring 3D to mobile devices. Google’s Project Tango, Intel and Occipital are in the midst of developing 3D mobile technology as well. Mobile developers and enterprises would do well to keep an eye on this rapidly developing space.

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