Thursday, September 27, 2007
Redundancy in Mobile Payments
I was training for the Argus cycle race last night and when I fell off my bike and hurt my right arm. Luckily I still have a left arm that I can use for shaving and brushing my teeth etc. This made me think how amazing humans are put together. In many ways the body is built with full redundancy: two kidneys, two eyes, pair of limbs etc. etc. Even if one breaks the body still works.
This is of course exactly the way financial systems are usually built and this is the only way to ensure 100% availability. Unfortunately this challenge is amplified ten times when financial systems connect to mobile phones. Suddenly many points of "single failure" exist. And of course this situation is amplified. The availability of systems is a factor of the availability of the individual components.
The need for redundancy in mobile payment solutions is even more visible because of the perception of subscribers that the service should be available all of the time (and everywhere). This sometimes create almost unsurmountable challenges. Often these challenges are not even visible to companies that deploy mobile payment solutions the first time. It is only when problems occur in production that design flaws become visible.
This is why it is even more important to contract experienced suppliers for the delivery of mobile payment systems than is the case with other financial systems.