“Thought Leadership” is a term that is often bandied around, with little regard for what it means. Many in the technology industry equate thought leadership to technological innovation. Personally I’m pretty excited about a type of thought leadership that takes an existing technology but delivers it in a way that means it is accessible to everyday members of the public. I took part in a product launch last week that meet this other definition of thought leadership.

2Degrees is a mobile carrier in New Zealand that is trying to break the back of the two well entrenched incumbents – Vodafone and Telecom. Their approach is to be agile, to rapidly iterate products and services and in doing so to be able to closely respond to the needs and demand of the market.

Snapper is a great company that is on a mission to power the cashless society. By way of their now ubiquitous (at least in New Zealand) cards, they’re allowing people to pay for small purchases – public transport, coffees, movies tickets – without using cash. Quick and easy – that’s Snapper’s story. It also helps when stories surface like the one about the bus driver in New Zealand who recently died after being robbed of his cashbox – the director of the bus company went so far as to admit that a move to a completely cashless paradigm for these sorts of small purchases would help to avoid these tragic occurrences.

Last week these two companies got together top launch Touch2Pay, a neat implementation of existing technologies. Touch2Pay combines the Snapper offering in a mobile application running on a Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled mobile. Want to buy a coffee? Just wave your phone at the Café’s cash register. Want to get a bus? Do similarly to the Bus sensor. Want to know your balance, top up your account or buy a bus pass? Do it all from the mobile application on your device.

The video below is a typically understated Kiwi example of what this can do – like I said, nothing technologically revolutionary here, but what it does is take the exciting stuff that the cognoscenti have been talking about for years, and delivers it out to everyday folks – that’s thought leadership for sure!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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