As the world of payments continues to change and evolve, it’s tough to know exactly where new technologies and innovations will take commerce next.
But the recent FinTech Hack @ ATDC competition, which was held at the Georgia Institute of Technology and sponsored by global payments companies TSYS and Worldpay U.S., provided entrepreneurs, developers, designers and innovators with an opportunity to carve out their own path to FinTech innovation.
The competition brought together teams of participants to compete for cash, gadgets and professional-services prizes valued at approximately $100,000.
The theme of the hackathon was the Internet of Things (IoT), but specifically utilizing wearable FinTech to tackle challenges and solve problems in the market today.
Scott Carter, group executive of digital innovation at TSYS, said that participants were also provided with Amazon Echo devices, Raspberry Pi devices and even various types of sensor technology to help support the products and services they created during the two-day competition.
In the end, the Carculation team — a connected car financial platform — walked away with the grand prize valued at $79,000, including $12,000 cash. Carter said the team created a fleet management solution that provided the ability to track and pay for the use of fleet vehicles daily based on the mileage and usage of that vehicle.
“It’s important, too, because it really played into driverless technology and where we think that’s going to go over time, specifically with commercial and consumer fleet vehicles,” he added.
The Carculation team saw the complexities and risk around managing a fleet vehicle. Once a person has taken the vehicle and is using it, there’s a challenge in knowing exactly how it’s being used, where it is and understanding that it’s been used properly.
By enabling a person or business to pay for the use of that fleet vehicle along the way while it’s being used, versus just at the end of the trip, Carculation’s fleet management solution helps to take the risk out of the experience, Carter noted.
While the Carculation solution primarily leveraged Worldpay API, there were many teams that used TSYS APIs to build out their solutions.
The team that won the “Best Use Of TSYS APIs Award” was RESTless, which developed a solution based around travel discovery. Carter explained that the team developed a really interesting user interface centered on specific user preferences, specifically targeting the millennial demographic.
“They also did some interesting things around machine learning, and we just thought it played really well into our rewards and financial services travel products that we have here at TSYS,” Carter noted.
Some of the other clever and creative solutions Carter observed during the competition included a team that built a product that allowed parents to teach financial responsibility to their kids by placing spending limits around their child’s financial card or account.
The solution used the TSYS card control product to enable parents to turn on/off their child’s payment account or card based on whether they had hit their spending limit.
Carter mentioned another team that used a facial recognition solution to authorize the use of a payment card during in-store checkout, making it quicker for a sales clerk to identify who a customer is and get them through the checkout process without any issues.
A number of teams also presented embedded rewards solutions that Carter said were good. One smart merchant solution in particular was popular because it allowed different environmental factors to be tied to the shopping behaviors of customers when they visited a merchant. For example, the solution used sensors to detect how shopping behaviors changed based on what music was playing, the temperature in the store or even if any particular odors were present.
Though not everyone who competed could walk away as a winner, Carter said there are definitely opportunities for participants to take what they have created and continue working on it in hopes of creating a viable business.
“We’d love it if some of the people in the contest, whether they won or they didn’t win, would approach TSYS and let us know that they’ve got a great idea and let us help them with it,” he added.
With IoT taking the driver’s seat in commerce, it’s clear that the transactions we know today may be taken to a variety of new places and devices tomorrow.
Carter said that, looking ahead, the products and services within the payments space are going to have to be exposed to different devices and different environments.
Though today the focus is on devices like the phone, wallet and tablet, he said that, from TSYS’ perspective, products and services will continue to become more embedded into everyday life.
“One of the ways that we are preparing is by taking our platforms and working to expose those in new ways,” he continued. “We are building open APIs across our entire platform to allow them to be exposed and accessible from different types of applications, platforms and products.”
Not only will that have a huge impact, Carter noted, but it will enable platforms to be viewed as easier to interoperate with for the developer community.