Next generation retail showcased inside the GSMA Innovation City

February 22, 2016 | Ryan Andrew

From virtual shopping to identity checking, Innovation City is hosting the very latest in immersive payment and retail experiences.

If Mobile is the one of the main driving forces behind the rapid evolution of retail, then the GSMA Innovation City is the leading platform for providing a glimpse of next generation of retail and payment solutions.

When entering the Innovation City, one can’t help but notice the great clot of bodies gathered around a huge interactive display. That display is Etisalat’s Virtual Mall, the latest operator-developed retail solution that could open up an entirely new type of retail experience.

Virtual Mall allows consumers to digitally interact with stores and explore products in an innovative 3D enabled format. Buyers can choose products through a simple and intuitive graphical interface and move selected items to a virtual checkout basket. They complete the transaction using their bank card, and use their mobile phone and Mobile Connect to confirm their delivery address. After purchase, shopping can then be delivered directly to the home in two hours.

The Virtual Mall has already been commercially launched and continues to be rolled-out across the UAE. By allowing for additional authentication methods such as PIN requests or biometrics, Etisalat’s Virtual Mall has been designed to scale.

Tokenisation, the innovation that was recently described by one mobile payments expert as ‘more important to the history of payments than chip and PIN’, is also being showcased inside the Innovation City. This demonstration shows how Tokenisation harnesses the power of mobile to bring greater protection to the customer by creating unique tokens for every device from a single bank account. Tokenisation effectively conceals a customer’s sensitive card information by replacing it with a substitute number – a token.


MasterCard’s payment program, Commerce for Every Device, does exactly what its name promises – allows consumers the freedom to make purchases using any device, accessory or wearable item. In the Innovation City, guests have the chance to fashion and pay with a gown and a pair sunglasses to get a sense of how wearable payments can simplify everyday life.  In the next few years, consumers can expect to see easier and more convenient methods of making payments, resulting in an increased demand for wearable payment solutions. By using NFC technology, this solution ensures that the solution is not only convenient and satisfying, but secure. MasterCard have partnered with financial software company Coin to guarantee the highest level of security in conducting payments.

Indeed, the market success of such convenient payment solutions depends on consumer faith in payment security and as a result, digital identity. As such, MasterCard are also demonstrating their Identity Check program: a suite of technology solutions that confirm a consumer’s identity. Identity Check uses the latest in biometrics technology, allowing users to choose to verify their identity with either their face or fingerprint, ensuring optimum payment security and further simplifying the online consumer experience.

DC powatag

Powa Technologies are demonstrating their highly innovative pioneering mobile platform, PowaTag. Powatag works in conjunction with image recognition technology to scan an image of a product and then buy that item in a matter of seconds.  This clever solution allows people to make theirs, almost any object that they come across. After the image is identified, the user is then taken to a website of PowaTag’s partnered merchants, where they are able to purchase the product quickly and securely, thanks to Mobile Connect. Since Powatag’s launch in  2014, it has been adopted by over 2000 merchants worldwide.

To experience these demonstrations, visit the GSMA Innovation City, located at stands 3A11 and 3A31 in Hall 3, at Mobile World Congress.

The GSMA’s Digital Commerce programme will be hosting the seminars ‘The Remote Payments Opportunity’ and ‘Tokenisation for Mobile Payments’ at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday 23 February in seminar theatres 1 & 2. To register for these seminars, please click here.

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