Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

PASSCLUB Report Summary

Project ID: 697631

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PASSCLUB (The multisided secure mobile wallet platform that can make mCommerce happen in Europe)

Reporting period: 2015-11-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

TORO’s objective is to unlock Mobile Commerce throughout Europe, while enabling the incumbent players (Banks, Telco, Retails, etc.) in each of the markets to keep their position among themselves in a newfound balance, and move maximum activity to the mobile. After years of isolated experiences carried out by Telcos and Banks, resulting in 55 failed mobile wallet initiatives across Europe, it appears that only an open, secure, cost-effective, neutral, fully scalable mobile wallet platform with a “platform model”, has the capacity to federate the incumbent players willing to address the opportunity of mobile commerce (in-store with NFC, and online), and create the necessary user adoption.
Mobile Commerce is gaining momentum among consumers throughout the world, but it has yet to become a major force in the retail industry. Using a mobile device to make purchases in physical stores will likely to become more common in the coming years: Retailers have been slow to embrace the concept of mobile commerce in their traditional stores, but this attitude is beginning to change due to the growing number of people that rely on their mobile devices when doing their shopping. A May 2015-report from Javelin Strategy & Research predicts that mobile payments in physical stores will reach $54 billion by 2019, accounting for a significant portion of all transactions made in these stores.
Mobile commerce is considered to be quite convenient by consumers. Many of these people prefer to shop online, using their smartphones to purchase products from e-commerce sites. Retailers and Banks are beginning to adapt to the advent of mobile commerce by adopting mobile-centric practices and investing in mobile services that allow them to cater for the needs of mobile consumers that are interested in paying for products with their smartphones.
A new space is taking place, where users communicate with merchants, banks... through their mobile phones, gradually modifying their purchasing habits and creating a new interactive space named the mobile ecosystem. Tomorrow, this new space will be the point of convergence of all service providers and users to define the new behavior. Banks will be there as this is the best way for them to accompany their customers: users and service providers like retails.
The European market is ready in key aspects: We have embraced EMV 1 (chip and PIN) as the standard for secure transactions for more than 15 years already, and migration to EMV Level 3 (Contactless Payment) is well underway with already 2,500,000 POS 2 terminals enabled for contactless payments .

Since the inception of NFC (Near-Field Communication) in 2002, a reported 55 NFC-related initiatives have been implemented in Europe, and so far neither has really succeeded. Although TORO deployed its mobile wallet platform in Poland with T-Mobile Polska and 6 banks in 2012, and Valyou in Norway with 3 banks, we realized that the fragmentation of the market was keeping the mCommerce to really take off (no momentum for user-adoption created).

In response Toro’s project is to build and deploy the PASSCLUB Platform. Passclub is a central, neutral, versatile and independent commercial platform, with extensions possible in every market that syndicates the incumbent players of national Mobile Commerce ecosystems (Banks, Telcos, Retailers, Public Transport Operators...), allowing them to share a unified technical platform (developed, operated, and maintained by TORO) and to enable their business on the mobile with the highest possible level of interoperability, scalability and security.
Passclub is a user centric solution that aims at giving access to NFC-based services to the largest number of End-Users. Those services are grouped inside a mobile application called a Wallet. The Wallet is the one-stop-access to all services (NFC or not) provided by the Service Providers (SP), which are members of the Passclub platform. Passclub provides all the infrastructure and business solutions for Service Providers (SP) in order to rollout NFC-based services such as payment, marketing, loyalty card, transportation, access control, etc. generating so a level playing field where service providers compete for the attention of the
user.

The Passclub model is characterized with the following main points:

1. Passclub focuses on solving 3 major technical flaws of the system: (1) Unification and defragmentation of the technical landscape (high diversity of mobile devices, operating systems, MNO firmware ́s, different Secure Elements 3 , etc.), (2) Continuity of service for both the End-Users and the Service Providers, for all the use-cases related the possible interruptions: lost, stolen or broken mobile phone, change of handset, change of operator, etc., and (3) Possibility for maximum flexibility to develop any type of interactions from the Service Provider with its Customer (a must to attract SPs pushing their customer to the mobile phone).

2. The complexity of the particulars of each Business is being handled and implemented on Passclub directly by the Users of the platform themselves (Banks, Telcos, Public Transport Operators, Loyalty schemes...) or/and by 3rd party developers provided with an always-up-to-date Passclub SDK (Software Development Kit). This is for example what Google has done at a different level with its Android Platform and Android SDK, or what SAP has done with its R2 and R3 platforms.

4. The versatile platform model is based on the basic principle that the Users of Passclub that get the most out of it (here the Banks) agree to “subsidize” the Service Providers (e.g. Retailers and Public Transport Operators) that will massively bring them their End-Customers completing transactions to justify the bank investment. Passclub therefore retains a certain amount from Banks to cover all costs of operations of the platform and the general rule is that participating Transport, Retailers, etc. are charged no operation cost to make sure they will use the platform.

5. Revenue-Share: Passclub collects the fees from the paying Users of the platform (Banks mostly) and redistributes a large fraction of this income on a revenue-share basis to the technical and commercial operators of the platform.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The closure of Valyou Norway brought a major change to the implementation of the action. As a matter of fact, the proposal sent to the European Commission in Q1 2015 included Valyou Norway as part for the plan to convert an existing deployment to an open platform following the Passclub model. Instead we shifted our efforts towards the Spanish market in order to deploy directly Passclub Spain which was part of the original proposal. To do so, we had to reshape our approach towards building Passclub for the Spanish market. During the first reporting period, which start the 1st of November 2015 and ends the 31th of July 2016, Toro Development has been working on the 4 Working Packages with most of the tasks remaining the same as defined in the original plan. The tasks impacted by the closure of Valyou and the focus on Passclub Spain are explained below.
1 - Without Valyou Norway we did not have the possibility to support a payment feature in the platform. Therefore tasks related to payment were removed from the scope of the first deployment and post-poned until we could get an opportunity to implement it for a bank or a partner of the fintech industry. As a consequence, deliverable D2.8 - New widgets supporting BankAccept and MasterPass could not possibly be met. Instead we replaced it with the Agora Merchant Dashboard, which is directly related to the creation of widgets in the context of Agora Gracia deployment for Passclub Spain.
2 - Passclub Spain technically differs from Valyou’s deployment in the sense that it is not TSM centric. Therefore we had to review the architecture of our Akami Platform solution and introduce the following modification with the original proposal:
2.1 - No need to integrate with 3rd party TSM platform. Therefore the need for a TSM simulator and related testing tools disappears from the scope. As a consequence, deliverable D2.5 - Simulator and testing tools adapted to the platform did not make sense anymore and was replaced by the IDM (see below)
2.2 - Without TSM, we were losing the component that validates users and provide the user’s identity on the platform. Therefore we had to replace this feature with a more generic approach by introducing the concept of the IDM (Identity Management) system on the Platform, which provides a more flexible and standard approach towards identity management and integration with 3rd party, very well aligned with the scope of an open platform.
3 - Valyou Norway had already some major partner connected to the platform which was generating revenues supposed to be shared among the various providers according to Passclub business model. In this context it was necessary to have a billing system capable of tracking billable events and producing invoices. For the first phase of Passclub Spain deployment, Toro operates Passclub Spain platform as well as Agora Gracia. Without any 3rd party connected to the platform in a revenue share model, the development of the billing system was given a lower priority. Therefore we discarded it from the scope in favor of the development of the Marketing Platform. Hence the deliverable D2.14 - Billing system fully tested was replaced by the Marketing Platform which is at the core of Agora Gracia.

WP1: Project Management
Management of the technical and commercial aspects of the project from steering committees to daily scrum meetings. Defined the priority for the project and the sprints. Follow-up on progress, risks and deliverables.

WP2: R&D
- Wallet: Enhancement of the existing product, life-cycle management and widget system. New features implemented include reporting of BI events, integration with IDM for user authentication and access to back-end protected APIs, push notifications, maps. Delivery of the Agora Gràcia Wallet in July.
- Loyalty widget: A versatile marketing widget has been implemented for the loyalty feature of Agora Gràcia, with support for punch cards, live content, static content, notifications. All features are powered by the AkamiMP (Marketing Platform).
- AkamiManage (Wallet Manager): The Wallet Manager has had some major improvements to remove dependencies on TSM life-cycle, integrate the IDM, add API protection, support for Google Cloud push notifications and change of database engine. The Wallet Manager is considered as stable component and is still being developed to add support for new features. Passclub Wallet Manager was delivered in July 2016.
- AkamiMP (Marketing Platform): Adaption of the existing Marketing Platform to run in Passclub environment and development of new features to support the loyalty features of the widget, and the Agora Merchant Dashboard.
- IDM: Customization of a 3rd party application to match Passclub requirements. The IDM is integrated with the Wallet for End-User’s authentication based on the OpenIDConnect standard and with both the Wallet and all the back-end servers for API protection based on the UMA framework standard. The IDM for Passclub was delivered in July 2016.
- AkamiBI: In order to match the delivery of the BI for the release of July, we used a 3rd party BI service called Mixpanel for collection and generation of reports based on events collected from the Wallet and the Marketing Platform. Development of the next version of the BI system was started in parallel. Delivery of the BI and reports for Passclub and Agora was released in July 2016.
- Agora Dashboard: A web portal for Agora merchants to allow them to register to the service, and define their widget using a simple interface. The Agora Dashboard is integrated with the marketing platform that provides the notification system, live content, static content, punch card features, and merchant’s authentication. The Dashboard was also delivered in July 2016.
- AkamiSDK: Development of SDK libraries and tools allowed have been done. A widget templating system has been developed, which allows automatic generation of widgets for Agora Gràcia loyalty widgets. The SDK private area has been developed as well. The SDK is not yet ready for public release, but has been released to a partner (Tecnocom) for them to train themselves on widget development.
- Testing: Enhancement of our testing methodology by introducing automatic testing on the Wallet Manager, the Marketing Platform and the Wallet. Coverage of automatic tests for the back-end is focused on the main features. Coverage of automatic test in the Wallet is still low and implementation is still on-going to provide a wider coverage.
- Infrastructure: Creation of the Passclub infrastructure in code for automatic deployment in Amazon Web Services. Pre-production and production environments for Passclub were deployed since June 2016 with alarms and monitoring. Infrastructure to support automatic deployment of software was delivered as well.
- Support and Operations: Work on defining SOP and automation of widget deployment is still on-going. Regarding operations, deployment and alarms framework has been setup. Enhancement of automatic software deployment and development of new metrics and alarms for software monitoring is on-going.
- SIT and UAT of the Passclub Platform and Agora Gràcia Wallet and services have been passed successfully. The platform commercial release was done on the 22nd of July 2016.

WP3: Marketing and Business Development
There was a strong emphasis in this first project period on Business Development in order to promote the Platform, create partnerships and kick-start Agora Gràcia.
- Toro has established high level contacts with major players of the financial and transportation sectors. Out of them we can cite Tecnocom (financial sector) and ASK (transportation sector) with which a MOU was signed. Also major progress have been made with various spanish banks including Caixa Bank, Banc Sabadell and Triodos Bank where Toro is well known as a wallet provider.
- Since November 2015, Toro has organized or joined more than 50 workshops with potential partners (See deliverable D4.1 - Targeted Workshops with potential category partners). This has lead to the signature of 2 MOUs with Tecnocom and ASK ; as well as receiving projects proposal from Caixa Bank for 4 potential wallet projects using Passclub Spain. The efforts to close these deals and open new ones one especially on transportation are maintained. New workshops are planned to achieve these objectives.
- Banks: we are currently working on a commercial partnership agreement with CaixaBank, the largest retail bank in Spain with 14M Customers. The Letter of Intent is signed and we are working on the specifics of the business agreement, aiming at starting the integration work in September 2016 and launch by the end of the year. We are preparing a series of commercial workshop with the team of CaixaCard (the division of card management of CaixaBank) in order to finalize the agreement.
- In parallel, we are finalizing the technical integration with Tecnocom’s platform in order to be able to initiate a commercial roadshow together with them in September 2016 in order to talk to all the banks connected to Tecnocom’s Cloud-based payment platform into joining PASSCLUB. The format of the proposals to banks has been predefined with Tecnocom for standard deployments of a banking wallet powered by PASSCLUB. Any deviation from the standard (expectable) will trigger the definition of a tailored proposal submitted by Tecnocom.
- Transport: we have entered the selection process organized by ATM in order to define and acquire a mobile platform solution, scheduled to launch to the general public in Q1 2017. A series of technical workshops with a panel of experts from the different operators involved in the T-Mobilitat project will start as of September (we shall include ASK experts in those workshop in order to build a tailored commercial proposal to ATM).
- Agora Gràcia is the first Service Provider on-boarded on Passclub. To ensure the success of this initiative, Toro has worked on commercial efforts on the level of the District Administration in order to convince them of the benefits of our initiative. As a result, Toro has already signed 120 contracts with independent merchants of the district of Gràcia, and we have designed a way to continue signing merchants via the merchant web portal of Agora Gràcia (http://sp.agora.ag). With this system we are now in position to sign 100’s of merchants per day. We have produced a set of marketing materials (flyers, cards, stickers, leaflet, etc.) to invite merchants to join Agora, and we are actively meeting merchants either in one-on-one meetings everyday, or in workshops organized with Commercial Street Associations of Gràcia once-a-week (there are 7 such associations in Gràcia).
- Moreover, we are actively promoting the Agora Gràcia initiative at the level of the city of Barcelona (for when we decide to extend beyond the district of Gràcia), with bi-monthly meetings with the City government to keep them informed of the progress and get their full backing of the operation, and with the Fundació Barcelona Comerç which represents the 10,000 independent merchants of 18 commercial streets of Barcelona. Fundació Barcelona Comerç is expecting from PASSCLUB that we provide them with a way to generate revenue, which will lead to a tailored commercial proposal around october 2017

WP4: Sales and Communications
Sales and Communications have been focused primarly on Agora Gracia in order to reach a critical number of merchants for the launch, and on engaging in talks with potential SDK developers.
- Communication efforts have been focusing on the promotion of Agora Gracia. We defined a marketing and communication strategy, partially with the help of an external media company. We have prepared communication campaign to appear in local media for the promotion of Agora Gracia for merchants and end-users.
- Toro has engaged in talks with Tecnocom and Aktios in Spain, as well as Ikomobi in France to promote the Akami SDK and enroll them in the developers’ community. We have already scheduled an Akami SDK training with Tecnocom for August

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Within the first 9 months of the project, Toro has achieved the development and deployment in production of a flexible, scalable, customizable and secure mobile wallet platform.

Flexible as the platform is built around a set of API implementing standard protocols acknowledged by the industry to integrate and expose services. Furthermore, our SDK tools allows to quickly build services in HTML5, Javascript and CSS and deploy them on the platform. Service providers can manage the life-cycle of their widgets independently from the Wallet life-cycle, bringing them the full flexibility they need to develop, deploy, test and correct their widget in order to quickly adapt their offering in to the Wallet users.

Scalable as the architecture of the Wallet application and the platform is designed to support hundreds of widgets in the Wallet app and hundred thousands of transactions on the back-end deployed in a cloud environment. In the context of Agora Gràcia (http://agora.ag) Toro has developed tools to automatically generate and deploy loyalty widgets for merchants via a very simple merchant dashboard. This paves to way to automatic on-boarding of services, potentially allowing hundreds of services to be provisioned daily on the platform.

Customizable as the platform has been designed and developed to accommodate the need of customization for Wallet owner, while retaining strict UI/UX guidelines to provide a unified and premium experience of services to the end-users. As a matter of fact, Wallet from different owners might share the same services (i.e. widgets). It is Toro’s responsibility to ensure that the look and feel but also performance of a given widget is the same across all Wallets.
Some important features of the platform such as the identity management of end-users and access control to services can be customized by integrating 3rd party IDM (Identity Management system) with Passclub, based on standard authentication protocols (OAuth2). This feature is critical for some businesses such as banks as it allows them to integrate Passclub technical solution with their existing customer base without the need to export users’ identity or credentials outside their premises, therefore facilitating and speeding-up the integration of 3rd parties on the platform.

Security is at the core of Passclub. With experience in Mobile payment including Visa and Mastercard certified deployments, Toro has designed the Wallet application and platform with security at the core. User anonymization by design, databases encryptions, encryptions at all transport layers, code obfuscation, widget packages signature and encryption, API protection, password-less user authentication, identity management, etc… The platform implements the best practices to ensure the security of its customers and services, with the objective in mind to comply with payment certifications when deploying the first payment service.

During the first period of the project, Toro has focused on technically building the platform in order to rollout the first deployment of Passclub Spain, with Agora Gràcia as the first service provider onboarded on the Platform.
Agora Gràcia is a Wallet dedicated to the district of Gràcia, a trendy district in Barcelona, full of small shops, restaurants, bars and businesses. The objective of this wallet is to enhance the shopping experience in Gràcia by offering loyalty cards, discounts, information, localization of services via the Wallet. The application was launched commercially on the 22th of July 2016 with 120 contracts signed with independent merchants of the district of Gràcia, and new merchants keep on joining via Agora Gràcia’s web portal (http://sp.agora.ag).
Toro is actively promoting the Agora Gràcia initiative at the level of the city of Barcelona (for when we decide to extend beyond the district of Gràcia), with bi-monthly meetings with the City government to keep them informed of the progress and get their full backing of the operation, and with the Fundació Barcelona Comerç which represents the 10,000 independent merchants of 18 commercial streets of Barcelona. Fundació Barcelona Comerç is expecting from PASSCLUB that we provide them with a way to generate revenue, which will lead to a tailored commercial proposal around october 2017.

Agora Gràcia is one type of Service Provider using the Passclub platform, that specializes in loyalty. The target remain to onboard other service providers beyond loyalty, with payment and transportation in order to have a complete offering of services for the end-user. Business development wise, our efforts were turned during the first period of the project, towards creating partnership with banks and major actors for the financial industry and transport sector to help us achieve those objectives and ultimately being able to offer payment means and transport ticketing in the Wallets for the end-users.

Related information

Record Number: 192961 / Last updated on: 2016-12-16
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