Tag Archives: Europe

Sitecore EMEA Partners Summit 2015 – conference notes

Today was the Sitecore EMEA Partner Summit 2015 at the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel in London. We, Endava, are a Platinum Sitecore partner and I’ve often considered Sitecore’s partner programme one of the best developed technology partnership programmes out there – and certainly one that other companies could learn a lot from.

These notes were taken at the conference using OneNote and a stylus (or perhaps it should be called a Microsoft Pen ha ha!!) – which I then quickly converted to text. I’ve had a quick read through, but if anything looks out of context, it probably is – please comment at the bottom of the post and I’ll correct it.

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Visa Insights 2013 – day two

Visa Insights Live Day 2Here are my notes from the second (and final) day of Visa Ins. The first day’s notes can be found here.

I only went to two of the presentations because it was a half day and I was covering a the Endava stand.

Again, apologies for brevity and any grammatical or layout issues.

E-commerce comes of age

Duncan Olboy. Helps merchants.

  • Ecommerce is 24% of Visa’s business
  • Ecommerce is growing twice as fast as face to face


  • The rate of adoption of new technologies being adopted is quickening
  • 4G will accelerate user migration from face to face quicker
  • Customers want cloud services – it simplifies things for users and feels more natural
  • Digital goods are 24% of Visa transactions
  • Apple claim iPhone users use Siri once a week
  • There was a demonstration of the ease of a mobile payment on stage (BH: but it is any easier than using a card?)
  • 40% of users want their card details shielded from anyone across the internet. That is the core foundation of v.me
  • 25% want a quick checkout
  • PayPal was launched in 2009.  It’s the only wallet at scale
  • Merchants also want a quick checkout/wallet process to reduce abandonment
  • The live demo of v.me was based on receiving an email from a retailer
  • The wallet includes delivery information
  • The user interface auto detects the bank from the start of the user entering the card number
  • 3 live trials underway, 16 banks signed on to v.me
  • Phase 2 trials are planned
  • visa’s challenge is the demand for these new layers of the ecosystem keeps growing

Shane Happach, Chief Commercial Officer, e-commerce, Worldpay

Worldpay has £300bn turnover, 120 countries, 400,000 merchants, 200 payment types

Shane spoke about ‘selling’ v.me to retailers. 80pc of v.me responds to retailer challenges

  • Needs a differentiating experience for retailers
  • v.me needs to demonstrate benefits / incremental sales for retailers

Why has Worldpay committed to V.me?

  • “Low impact technically to implement”
  • Cost effective
  • Multichannel… Shane said in 5 years’ time, no one will mention multichannel, or even omni-channel

Discussion panel

Eric Rebour, E. Leclerc supermarkets

  • Customers have changed. Going to the supermarket isn’t fun or sociable anymore, people want to shop from home.
  • The move from supermarkets to the web was a security learning experience. Increasing credit card security meant a [20%!!!] drop in customer conversion.
  • Customers asked to use PayPal. However PayPal was cost prohibitive for supermarkets (the product margins aren’t high enough to support PayPal).
  • Leclerc chose V.me because the transaction fees are far lower
  • Very customer focussed (quite usual for supermarkets). Customers want to find something easily, quickly, and secure.
  • 25% of Leclerc food orders are done on a mobile phone. Average basket size on a mobile is 42 items, so it’s not a short experience. It’s probably during a commute.

Duncan Olby

  • The payment process needs to be quick and easy. Making users think about the process any more than the physical equivalent will increase form abandonment. (BH: Through the event there was lots of discussion around the invisible, seamless experience).

Benjamin Ensor, Forrester

  • Quick and easy: that’s why people want to use a mobile device for bank maintenance, because the login process is far easier than the web equivalent of long username and password.

Closing Plenary

Peter Ayliffe, Steve Perry and Sir Stuart Rose

  • Reminder of over 20% of visa transactions are ecommerce
  • Smartphone grows at 30% year on yar
  • One bank at the conference said their mobile app is used on average 26 times per month.

Peter gave some experiences of his own family:

  • His 81 year old father who buys art supplies from Amazon
  • His son’s girlfriend does their grocery shopping online
  • His younger son moved home and his first priority when he moved to a new house was to get the TV working and streaming content from his phone to the TV
  • His oldest son uses a NikeID chip and Spotify on his mobile. The previous day he’d received a cheque through the post from a friend.
  • Peter said his family isn’t unique (which is why the audience can relate to these scenarios). It’s not even unique in the UK, its right across Europe.

His comments on how Visa has delivered NFC:

  • Visa process over 10m transactions a month in Poland
  • London buses have adopted NFC cards, and bearing in mind there is already an Oyster contactless card in use, there have been 1m payments on buses, 90% of which are on Visa
  • The average person checks their mobile device every 6.5 mins, including checking the time
  • £1.7m downloads of the RBS app with visa payments, in the first 10 days
  • V.me is unique. It shields the card holder for the customer and moves the liability shift from the retailer. And it will be branded as the bank.

The Financial Services moving toward a Financial Information Services company:

  • Financial Services companies need to focus on the information that they have. Financial Services currently move money around the system. Soon they will be moving information around.
  • The information industry already has 50% of the revenue of the Financial Services industry.

Google can’t see the end sale take place. Visa can. This is Visa’s Unique Selling Point over Google, and pretty much any other company.

New York report


The problem with holidays are that after returning to work, they seem to have happened so long ago! I’ve been back from holiday (please read the Holiday report) 3 weeks and it feels like… well, a lot longer.

Part of the reason it feels so long ago is that I returned to the UK on Tuesday 4th, flew to Germany to see a client (about a really fascinating new project – more details when I’m allowed to report it) and back on the 7th, and spent the 9th to 14th in New York meeting existing and [hopefully] new clients.

I love New York. I have a cousin who has lived in New York for a while, and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit there several times.

Professionally, I’ve always thought that with such a huge home market, the US offers a more varied hi-tech labour market. In the UK, earning a salary in London rarely offers the opportunity to move to another city with the same standard of living or future flexibility. In the US you can experience the same standard of living (salary, house prices, etc.) up and down the East Coast, West Coast, and a dozen cities in between.

Cost of living – there’s nothing more sobering than listening to Americans talk about the cost of ‘gas’. Petrol to you and me. Gas in New York state is hovering at around $3.80 to $3.90 a US gallon. That’s £0.63p per litre. I filled up my motorbike when I returned home for £1.39 per litre. In conversation a fortnight ago I was lacking compassion for high ‘gas’ prices.

There were several events while I was in New York – it was the start of the American Football season on Monday, the final of the US Open on Monday, September 11th was on the Tuesday and it was Fashion week the whole time.

American Football – I have no comment. Although if I’d said that during a commentary, there would have been three ad breaks during that comment. OK, I do have a comment – it was the highest scoring opening weekend of American Football (I feel it’s necessary to always qualify the sport you assume the wrong shaped ball) and I’ve noticed how much bigger all the professional sports have become – more on the commercial aspect later.

The US Open was quite amusing. For the rest of the week, whenever a USan heard I was English, they wished me ‘well done’ on Murray’s first Grand Slam. The first couple of times I tried explaining the difference between English and British to no avail. If the Mexican’s or Canadians ever win something of note, I will wish those same people ‘well done’. Congratulations Murry.

September 11th was strange. It was the 11th anniversary and America is now trying to move on, which meant many of the memorial services are now being toned down and shortened. Going through that transition was always going to be painful. I read about NBC interviewing the mother of a reality TV show during the September 11th memorial service, but that was put into context on my train journey into work the day before when I was sitting opposite two chaps in their fifties also commuting.

“Are you guys working tomorrow?” One man asked his friend.

“Yes. What about you?” The friend answered.

“No, we have the day off as a memorial. I’ve organised a game of golf because I don’t get a lot of time on the weekends any more. You could have joined if you were also off.”

On my way into work I bought a coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. Naturally it was a drive through. It was a lovely coffee. Once I finished the coffee on the train I read the cup. You know what it’s like when you’re a bit bored. There were 10 copyrights and trademarks on the polystyrene cup. Everything that wasn’t produced directly from an animal was copyrighted. What’s the point of paying for a trademark for “Dunkin’ Decaf”? What’s wrong with just ‘Decaf’?

On to technology, it was also the announcement of the iPhone 5 while I was in New York (some disappointed colleagues in London thought I would be bringing a few handsets home). One of the expectations of “the 5” was a contactless payments capability. Go to New York and observe how far away they are from contactless payments – shops still swipe the magnetic strip. I never used Chip & PIN, and I told people (including some very bored cashiers) about contactless payments. The UK is so very, very far ahead of the US (well, New York) in payment types. It reminds me of how far ahead Europe was in mobile technologies. And on that note, USans still pay for incoming calls to the mobile. Why don’t operators just setup cold calling call centres?

Finally, one more observation. In every meeting that we had with senior managers, if we met them in their own office, they had Facebook open on their monitor. Every meeting, without exception.

Flipkart’s Unique Selling Point


Following yesterday’s article about Tencent and the wider concept of looking at the Internet outside of Europe and the US, thanks to one RSS subscriber who contacted me about Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce site which offers a unique Cash-on-Delivery payment option on top of the usual payment options including its own digital wallet. 

Cash-on-Delivery is an excellent option for a country where a relatively small percentage of the population have bank accounts although I’m not sure how Flipkart gets around the cancellation-on-the-doorstep, or convincing delivery companies to collect cash.

Flipkart doesn’t publish any revenue figures, and in its company information it states that it had $31m of funding.

Flipkart is targeting customer service as its USP. 2,500 staff work across 24×7 customer service, and its own supply chain – warehouses, distribution centres across 13 cities.

If I were starting a new Internet business at the moment, I’d definitely be researching sites beyond Europe and the US for some best practices and new ideas.

Why email should be taxed


Yesterday’s news about the price of a first class stamp rising to 60p made me think about post’s arch nemesis: email.

Firstly, I still think that paying 60p for a near guarantee delivery the next day is remarkably cheap. To send a birthday card by post is cheaper than driving the card round to anyone who lives more than 1.5 miles away (I’m thinking about the round trip!). In Germany, a first class stamp costs £1.21.

Back to email – everyone seems to be complaining about receiving too much email. On the other hand, I complain about receiving too much post as well, because every item of post seems to be a bill – but that’s different.

Back to email again – and the fact we all seem to receive too much of it. I even get cc’d on social emails now. So my grand idea is… the government should tax email.

The government is losing revenue from falling post volumes: it’s fallen 25% since 2006, and more falls are expected.

All other forms of messaging have a direct or indirect tax – mail, phone calls, mobile phone calls and even text messages have a cost which includes 20% VAT. The only messaging I can think of that don’t include VAT are email and public messaging (Skype – assuming it’s free, Microsoft Messenger or Google Talk equivalents).

So in order to reduce the quantity of emails addressed to me, and to raise more money for government, please start taxing email!!!!

Photo courtesy of Zazzle, where you can buy that lovely mug.

Akamai Digital Media event


Yesterday I went to the a Digital Media event hosted by Akamai. Here are a number of key points from the session:

  1. Only 1% of video is currently delivered over IP (i.e. the Internet). This will keep growing as more TVs are Internet enabled. This probably accounts for why Akamai and the other CDNs share prices are doing so well, outperforming the indices and competitors (see chart above).
    1. Video IP usage is up more than a third from 2009
    2. and we’re watching video almost 50% longer.
  2. The UK is well advanced of the US in terms of peer to peer – most of the UK’s broadcasters use it, whereas in the US it is only used for illegal file sharing.
  3. 60% of Europe’s iPhone market is in the UK. This explains why our sites have low iPhone usage globally. (It’s worth noting that the time spent on apps makes up for the low iPhone usage).
  4.  Akamai are bringing out some interesting new services on their Edge network. Other organisations who own huge numbers of web servers such as Amazon and Microsoft are virtualising their environment and renting it out as well known Operating Systems (e.g. AWS and Azure both can both run as Windows servers, sold by the hour). Akamai are working differently by expanding Value Added Services to their customers – keeping the technology proprietary.

All in all it was a good day, hearing about a number of new technologies and an excellent case study from Adam Lynch at The R&A.


Data roaming costs


The cost of using a data card or mobile phone abroad amazes me. On Orange, data costs £3 per Mb when abroad.

There is an EU ruling that no operator can charge more than £40 in one month for data roaming, after a few horror stories where travellers streamed a video or radio only to return home and see a bill for several hundred pounds.

I can understand that there’s a cost overhead of integrating billing systems between operators, however these charges appear to be just a huge cash cow for the networks, which only drives people away from using them.

The answer is to use free Wifi, available in most hotels and airports, in fact most public places around the world.

Photo courtesy of Sam Fox Photography on Flickr.