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Friday, December 1, 2023

Green Sheet interviews Verizon Business’s Tony Lutz

As recently reported under Breaking News, Verizon Business and Mastercard embarked on multiple initiatives designed to leverage Verizon’s 5G connectivity and Mastercard’s global network (see www.greensheet.com/breakingnews.php?article_id=2936 ). Tony Lutz, global financial practice leader at Verizon Business, shared with The Green Sheet additional details about how these initiatives are powering connected commerce. Following are interview highlights.

How has Verizon Business evolved over the last three decades?

Verizon Business has moved from a traditional sort of voice and data wireline network into the largest mobile carrier focused not just on technology, with everything driven around use cases and vertical solutions all for business outcomes.

Our nationwide footprint and coverage have grown substantially, so I would say that's a very big piece. And our fixed wireless access product just passed the 1 million mark, with improved speed helping improve the banking customer experience. We're seeing applications focused around omnichannel video banking, IoT intelligence and virtual reality training being done over 5G because of its speed and low latency.

What improvements have you seen in fixed wireless access in retail stores?

With wireless technology, the ease of deployment is much easier than traditional applications where It would take 30 to 60 days to put a circuit in a branch or retail store. Now we literally ship a box, you turn it on when you get it and you're up and running. So, the deployment time is greatly reduced, and we are seeing more failover, disaster recovery and backup solution use cases, all of which are helping banks meet expense reduction mandates, which they love, and we’ve seen cost reductions by a third to a half, depending on what kind of technology they’re running, so cost reduction is a primary driver as well.

What benefits, beyond cost reduction, does wireless internet provide small business owners?

Improved security is a major factor. In our previous interview, we spoke a bit about network slicing, that enables your point of sale transaction to go over a secured wireless connection. From a speed perspective, [merchants, service providers and brands] are able to do richer media and advertising at the point of sale terminal, such as flashing up a little video clips on the screen. Higher density, a larger national footprint that supports more connected devices and 5G speeds are greatly improving that experience and making this technology available everywhere.

Have some early concerns about 5G been dispelled now that it is widely available?

From a business standpoint, there can be a fear factor when you move away from traditional wireline services, but 5G has really taken hold and as I mentioned, we reached a million subscribers. This is a technology that everyone's embracing, from a problem-solving, to better security, stronger authentication, fraud deterrent and identity verification perspective. And that's all top of mind when you think of biometrics in security.

In addition, we have introduced eSIMs, where before you always had to work with physical hardware SIMs. By contrast, eSIMs can be remotely configured on the device, eliminating the need to send out a physical SIM, and being able to literally have a second device on your phone. So, when you think about it, you can basically have your phone and segmented point of sale in that same device. This capability has substantially simplified corporate deployments. Employees already have phones and their companies can just give them an eSIM that’s part of the device. Think of brokers, traders, financial advisors, all of whom could have a personal device and second SIM that is the company’s device, all defined by software.

What are some areas of focus for the Verizon Business and Mastercard partnership?

One of the areas we're focused on is distance payments, and recurring transactions, like the ability to order a cup of coffee that’s waiting for you on your way to work, versus having to go to an app and repeatedly order it. We’re also working on self-attended solutions for transit stations, cafeterias and gas stations. Connected vehicles is another hot topic. We get together every month and will be meeting next week at Mastercard’s Technology Innovation Center. end of article

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