News: Companies aim to help maximise data insights.
Small and medium sized businesses are being targeted by IBM and MasterCard as they look to bring big data analytics insights to better understand their markets and consumers.
A partnership has been formed by the two companies that sees MasterCard integrate IBM Watson Analytics into its platform, along with its own anonymised transaction data that is gathered through the payment company’s Local Market Intelligence.
This combination will bring artificial intelligence to its payments platform. The aim is to be able to offer SMBs insights on revenue, market share, customer demographics and competitors in a particular location and across multiple locations.
The problem being tackled is that smaller merchants often don’t have the resources to maximise data insights.
Eric Schneider, SVP, MasterCard Advisors, said: "There is an increasing wealth of data today that merchants can leverage to better understand their market and consumers."
The MasterCard Advisors LMI is designed to provide insights that will help to drive decisions about operations, marketing and personnel. The areas is focuses on are business performance, customer behaviour and competitive standing.
IBM’s Watson analytics tool works by delivering cloud-based guided analytics along with data visualisation and predictive analytics. The tool recommends starting points for the user to follow based on questions asked by the user, it then automatically offers insights and visualisations for the user to discover patterns in their data.
Research from MasterCard found that more than seven out of ten smaller businesses in Asia Pacific expect higher business costs in 2016, the company highlighted this because it believes this is something that the partnership can help to solve.
The research was based on a survey of 2,806 SME owners, co-owners, or key decision makers across APAC.
The product is set to be available in mid-2016 and will be available via subscription for merchants that accept MasterCard.
In recent months IBM has been looking to expand the adoption of Watson, which to some extent has been aimed more at research projects in education and healthcare than at enterprise operations.
Recent deals regarding the technology has seen it being used in a trial by Hilton hotels as a robot concierge, while a collaboration with KPMG to help usher in an era of cognitive computing has also been struck.
MasterCard meanwhile has been busy adopting technologies to help it modernise its offerings to customers.
The payments company has recently been showcasing new ways for people to pay for goods. One way that has been developed is the ability to pay through virtual reality glasses.
The company has teamed up with Wearality, a company that develops VR glasses, to essentially show what the future of ecommerce payments may look like.
The VR glasses will be available for people to try out at the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament and will allow wearers to identify clothes that golfers are wearing so that they can then buy them.
Much of this is future-gazing and while the technology is ready to go now, it is unlikely that they will be a common sight anytime soon.