Created at Vantiv’s Developer Lounge in Durango, Colorado, the Center for Innovative Payments (CIP) is intended to showcase the company’s solutions for various use cases on the leading edge of the integrated payments space.
Bringing together developers, Vantiv’s internal team and its partners for purposes of education about and hands-on engagement with the latest emerging technologies, the CIP provides a hub through which everyone who interacts with payments — from coders on the ground floor all the way to the end-user consumer — can keep pace with and benefit from the industry’s rapid evolution.
Matt Ozvat, VP of Developer Integrations at Vantiv, discussed with MPD CEO Karen Webster the dual importance — both internal and external — of the Developer Lounge’s latest venture, its machinations, and its desired effect for growth on the payments ecosystem moving forward.
"We’re going about this as an educational immersion concept,” said Ozvat. “We have a lot of folks in Vantiv that are talking to our customers and constituents and partners, and it’s really important for us to emphasize to our internal staff what point of sale developers do, what their systems are, and how their systems work in merchant locations. That provides a tactical, hands-on understanding, and their expert knowledge on top of it provides an unbelievable consumer experience."
He describes the lounge as “a great opportunity for education” for the internal employees of Vantiv, as it shows them what the company is doing, new concepts, and helps to provide clarity to the confusion that can happen in payments.
"It’s been a hit,” remarks Ozvat, going on to describe to Webster the standing-room-only ribbon cutting event on the CIP project, where Vantiv personnel were encouraged to go through each “pod” in the Developer Lounge — which focused on things like NFC, Apple Pay, tablets, and EMV, among many others.
“It was such an interesting thing to experience,” he recalls, watching the internal staff “geek out” over the innovations that are being developed.
The process of development itself, of course, goes to the external importance of the Development Lounge, and how Vantiv engages with those who come in from outside the company to create the innovations.
To clarify the common (and not entirely correct) confluence of “developer” and “innovator,” Ozvat explains that he typically classifies a developer with the payments industry as someone who writes code for innovating, “trying to create that best experience across channels” with merchants — from his perspective, specifically leveraging Vantiv’s workbench, tools and the platform to do so.
"A developer could be a shop within a big tier one merchant,” he says, “a whole department that’s dedicated to building those point of sale systems out for those merchants’ particular kind of experience … all the way down to a small coffee shop type of merchant that has a point of sale developer business that’s enabling payments innovation for it."
Ozvat views Vantiv’s role at the Developer Lounge as, first and foremost, providing the developers with that aforementioned workbench, which he thinks about as “a great bed of fertilized soil that has the ingredients” to help point of sale developers create innovative ideas. Vantiv’s goal is to have developers continually bring new ideas and new thoughts to the “lounge” so that they can more efficiently commercialize them and get to market.
At the Durango lounge — Vantiv’s first and currently largest one — Vantiv gives developers the same hands-on experience that it gives its internal team: that tactical knowledge of payments and how they can innovate around it. The goal, in Ozvat’s words, is to show developers as many generic use cases of payments as possible, so that they can get the creative developer juices flowing.
To keep up — on its own end — with the latest concepts, Vantiv turns to its legions of technologists who are always out watching for the new trends in the industry and seeing how they may impact payments. One such example is the Oculus Rift: the “virtual world” that immerses users in 3-D. Through Oculus Rift, Ozvat is watching developers create “interesting concepts around how to bring the payments and the consumer experience into some kind of virtual world,” which includes some rather surprisingly practical use cases in the dining and travel/hospitality sectors.
"Big applications outside of payments can be done with [virtual reality technology],” notes Ozvat. “It’s all about the consumer’s easy engagement, for them to visualize what they’re going to see, buy, and experience."
Vantiv is currently engaged in answering how to easily apply a payments aspect to it.
Looking further ahead, Ozvat adds that Vantiv is “getting a couple of things” out of the Developer Lounge — again, one external, and one internal.
Externally, the company is helping to provide awareness outside of the payments industry of the exciting things that are happening within it.
"We want people to realize that the payments industry is exploding right now,” said Ozvat. “We have all these technical opportunities to innovate, we have an exciting growth — payments is very important to us as a nation. Providing that kind of information outside of the industry only benefits it."
Internally, Ozvat concludes that the Developer Lounge is allowing Vantiv to foster the natural growth of innovation within the payments ecosystem, “and doing it safely where you’re not giving away secrets to other companies."
After all, some internal aspects are meant to stay internal — but evolution can continue nonetheless.
For more on software developers, click here to take a look at our PYMNTS.com Developer Tracker, powered by Vantiv, a monthly update designed to update merchants about eCommerce and commerce-related software developer news and trends.