Hitting the drive through window for dinner is a regular event for a lot of people out there; whether largely kept to the weekend, specific nights of the week, or just as a matter of routine, pulling through to the second window to fetch dinner isn't out of line. Though it's not exactly tough as it is, it's about to get even easier thanks to Visa and a new concept it showed off at the recently-concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC) event.
The tool in question is actually a collaborative effort, according to reports, between Visa, Pizza Hut, and Accenture (News - Alert). With this collaboration comes elements of the mobile commerce experience built right into a car's dashboard, allowing users to essentially drive up to a building and pay for a meal, which is then brought out by store employees without the user having to leave the car at all. It combines Visa Checkout with Pizza Hut's current e-commerce platform, seen in places like Xbox Live, to allow not only for payment, but also for ordering in advance.
The actual process is said to be very simple, which gives it an advantage over other systems that have higher complexity. Visa reportedly noted that checkout complexity leads to lost transactions measured in the millions of dollars, so being able to offer a rapid checkout system only makes sense. Add that on to the fact that fully 250 million cars are expected to come with subscriber identity module (SIM) cards by 2020, and that poses a great opportunity for car makers to make the drive through window an even simpler process.
Safety shouldn't be too much of an issue here, as this kind of process has already been seen going on in mobile phones for some time now. Thus converting the process to a car dashboard is just the same concept in a slightly different form factor. Though it's easy to wonder if maybe the wrong problem is being solved here; after all, it's really not so much to hand over a handful of cash, or a debit card, at the drive through window to get food. Still, it is an interesting idea; if fast food restaurants end up going largely cash-free, such would no longer be good targets for burglaries and the like. Sure, there would be some wanting to use cash, but the numbers would fall through the floor. Who would hold up a Taco Bell that only has $50 of cash on hand? The risks far exceed the reward. That makes eating out—and working at a fast food location—a safer proposition. Convenience is one thing, but safety and convenience together makes for a package that's hard to pass up.
Only time will tell just how far this concept catches on, but if it does, it likely will soon; SIM cards should start hitting cars in big numbers soon, and that will mean many more opportunities for payments so mobile such can be driven around.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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