| | Trends

Slush 2018 trends foreshadow changing consumer demands

Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to Helsinki for Slush — a tech event that’s earned a great reputation as a hotbed for innovation by up and coming entrepreneurs. In this post I present one intriguing trend that was making waves at this year’s event.

Slush has grown from a meagre 300-person conference in 2008 into a leading global start-up event attracting attendees from all over the globe. The main purpose of Slush is to facilitate meetings between start-ups and investors, through speed-dating meetings and pitching competitions.

Over the years I’ve had the privilege to attend four times. And this year, as in others, I wasn’t the only one arriving in Finland with high expectations. Over the course of two days, around 20,000 eager Slush attendees descended on Messukeskus Helsinki’s exhibition and convention center —for the sold-out event. Of those, many thousands were eager start-ups hungry for success. As expected, the very best were hotly pursued by eagle-eyed investors, keen to swoop on the next big thing.

The next generation of frictionless payments

When you think about it, most consumers are a fickle and impatient bunch. For starters, we don’t want to queue to pay. We prefer to try before we buy. We don’t want the hassle of fumbling with cash. And even when we do purchase something, we tend to prefer to defer payment. In a nutshell, consumers nowadays, are not eager to pay. And when we do eventually pay, we expect the payment transaction to be seamless, effortless and instantaneous.

At Slush, there were a number of new frictionless payment solutions aimed at addressing the increasingly high demands of consumers.

Consumers faced with new way of making payments

What if I told you that you could authenticate your in-store payments in the blink of an eye — or better yet, with the blink of an eye?

Well, that’s exactly what OP Lab set out to test at Slush with their new Pivo Face Payment pilot.

Alibaba and Lloyds Bank are amongst those who have also been experimenting with facial recognition software for some time now, but OP Lab is among the first to test the tech in Scandinavia.

At Slush I got the chance to try the Pivo Face Payment solution. It worked really well. It was fast and convenient from a user perspective. Each transaction took about seven seconds, which is less time than using a mobile wallet or a contactless credit card.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The user first downloads a smartphone app that allows you to save your credit card details and create a biometric template of your face.
  2. To conduct the transaction, users can authenticate their payments by simply standing in front of a tablet’s camera lens.
  3. Before charging the credit card, the tablet will prompt the user to accept the final sum shown on the screen.

Similar solutions by AliPay have already been trialed successfully by KFC in China. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly such solutions will be adopted in the European market. Only time will tell, I guess!

If you’d like to learn more about what went in to making and developing Pivo Face Payment, check out Mats Kyyrö’s LinkedIn post here.

My colleague Jan Altersten spoke with Pivo’s Matti Rusila at Slush about the future of mobile payments. Check out the short film interview and learn more about what is the key to win millions of users in highly competitive markets.

Slush highlights

Innovation and collaboration is always at the top of the agenda when we attend Slush. In a film interview, my colleagues Sanna Haimila and Jan Altersten shared their thoughts on why Slush is one of the key events of the year.

From my perspective, Slush 2018 managed to live up to the hype and even surpass my own expectations. It truly has grown to become a breeding ground for world-conquering companies. As in previous years, there were simply too many highlights to list them all here. However, if you’d like to get a comprehensive summary of the highlights from the three main stages, including backstage interviews, the Slush organizers have published a compilation film on YouTube here.

Related Posts