This year’s user summit was in Dubai. It was bigger and better than last year’s in Athens, but not nearly as good as next year’s!
On the first day of the event, many of us were surprised to see a panel discussion turn into a debate between two panellists, David Riddel of Novantas and Mark Bergdahl of American Express, on the relative merits of cash back versus points programmes. Welcome’s technology has achieved a level of richness which allows people to use it in completely different ways. The points vs. cash back debate is mild in comparison to other debates that are beginning to emerge. Like loyalty vs. promotional marketing. Or bank differentiation vs. interchange protection. All kinds of interesting subjects which will fuel discussions at future summits.
Also on the first day, Manoj Sugathan of Visa presented the new Visa payWave value proposition which now includes Welcome’s technology built-in, for the Asia Pacific region. There is a real opportunity for Welcome’s existing licensees to become value added acquirers for Visa payWave transactions. And they can get there first, before other acquirers, since their POS infrastructure already uses XLS. More information here.
On the second day of the event we saw a series of presentations by banks that are using Welcome technology almost entirely to enable merchant promotions, as opposed to doing points or cash back programmes. BPI presented a wonderful video of interviews with merchants, highlighting the ways that BPI is helping merchants solve major problems. I will do a separate blog post on that video, which is a very useful tool to get lots of other merchants excited and on board.
I have no idea where the next summit will be, but some of you have already suggested a few destinations. Sao Paulo? Paris? Singapore? Reykjavik?