SAP Powers Car Commerce

SAP Vehicles Network launched last night and its partnership with Samsung Pay makes it just a little easier for consumers to pay at the pump — and for parking without waving a phone at a pump or even leaving the car. Gil Perez SAP’s GM of Connected Vehicles gave MPD CEO Karen Webster the scoop on how car commerce is really what’s next in payments and commerce.

Imagine this scenario.

Susan is driving around town and realizes her car is low on gas. She isn’t quite sure where the closest station is. She can’t use her phone to search since she’s driving. Her purse with her wallet in it is in the backseat and out of reach.

Luckily for Susan, she’s driving one of the cars that’s powered by SAP’s newly launched Vehicles Network. The SAP Vehicles Network, an endeavor three years in the making, leverages the cloud and connected commerce to allow her to find not only the closest gas station but the closest one with the cheapest gas.

Once there, fueling up doesn’t even require that she climb into the back seat to retrieve her purse and wallet. Data shared via the cloud activates the pump she pulls up to. All she needs to do is put the gas in her car, and the SAP Vehicles Network does the rest. Payment is completed via the Samsung Pay app, as well as other partners, including FIS, ZipLine and P97.

The SAP Vehicles Network was announced last night (Oct. 20) and marks the first of its kind for SAP in the mobile payments space. It’s partnership with Samsung Pay also has the potential to accelerate the usage and adoption of Samsung Pay, given the ease of use and frequency with which consumers drive their cars and fuel up. Samsung/SAP’s car commerce was born out of co-innovation projects with companies including Volkswagen AG, Shell, VeriFone, Toyota Info Technology Center U.S.A. Inc. and BMW AG.

“We are pleased to partner with SAP to bring Samsung Pay to fuel pumps,” said Dr. Injong Rhee, Samsung Electronics’ executive VP. “Samsung Pay is accepted today almost anywhere you can swipe or tap your card, and we are always looking for ways to extend where consumers can use the service to everywhere they shop. Enabling Samsung Pay users to pay at the pump will further help us deliver on that promise.”

But that’s just the tip of this connected car commerce innovation.

Once Susan has filled up and is back on the road, the SAP Vehicles Network can help her reserve parking, open off-street parking gates and pay for on-street parking — all via her Samsung Pay mobile wallet.

Gil Perez, SAP’s senior vice president and GM for connected vehicles, spoke with MPD CEO Karen Webster about SAP’s focus on the vehicle-centric commerce experience and how payments fits. From Perez’s perspective, SAP is the software platform that connects what he calls “service operators” — the gas stations, convenience stores, parking spots — with “channels” — how consumers actually access their services, such as a mobile wallet, an app or a car’s operating system.

SAP’s APIs make it easy for what Perez calls “service aggregators” — the chains of gas stations or QSRs, the parking garage — to make their inventory available and accessible. Like any platform, the SAP Vehicles Network is simply making it possible for a car to both trigger and enable a commerce activity for a consumer — helping simply to gain critical mass on both the channel and the service operator side — and not delivering the services themselves.

“We’re going to manage the business process, which is the connected fueling, the connected parking, the experience itself. The business part. We are going to leverage and enable the existing ecosystem, and the existing players that deal with and process the payment,” Perez said.

By partnering with services with Samsung Pay, Perez said that the process of payment is both seamless and secure. The decision to extend the capability beyond just fuel is so that more utility could be created for the end user, allowing the service operator to think creatively about how to incentivize and engage the end user.

SAP Vehicles Network utilizes the SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things so that anyone who wants to can create mobility services and apps for consumer use — in the process, allowing app providers and automotive companies to gain access to tens of thousands of mobile payment-enabled parking garages and gas stations in key markets.

“With SAP HANA Cloud Platform, we are providing an open platform to our customers and partners. Offering a seamless and digital experience, SAP thus is enabling the digital business. We are happy that Samsung Pay is leveraging SAP Vehicles Network based on SAP HANA Cloud Platform. With this, Samsung is accelerating market adoption of mobility services of the digital economy,” said Bernd Leukert, member of the executive board of SAP SE, products and innovations for SAP.

The SAP Vehicles Network was piloted in Hanover, Germany, for six months in 2014 after a 2.5-year development and testing process. Learnings from the trial were incorporated into the version of car commerce that was announced yesterday. Perez remarked that SAP is well aware that “all lights are on green for a new digital experience” and that SAP wants to be in the driver’s seat, so to speak, as the cloud, apps and enabling technologies lay the groundwork for a new connected commerce experience that is both frictionless and secure.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer decision and preferences,” Perez concluded.