LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 AFRICA: Leveraging existing SIM technology is a means for operators in emerging markets to move beyond broadcast-type services to targeting users with more personalised offerings, according to a morning session run by the GSMA’s Mobile for Development (M4D) programme.
Among the services that can be delivered via the SIM include mobile money (the original M-Pesa ran on SIM toolkit as an app), insurance and micro loans, as well as agriculture, health and access to utility services.
Underpinning a move to more personalised services is a requirement for a higher degree of security, identity and authentication.
The importance of these areas was emphasised by Jeremy Osborne, business development director for Africa with SIM vendor Gemalto.
He said the cost of ID theft should be measured not just in financial cost but the time lost when a user has to restore their identity.
“The amount of effort to restore identity back to normal is extraordinary,” said Osborne.
It’s not just users who feel a negative impact either. Governments, enterprises, banks and web-based merchants also feel the pain of identity theft.
The advantages of using a SIM to authenticate identity include virtually universal availability, security, as well as ease of use and integration.
But the challenge of all such uses is to engage users. Fabio Sergio, VP of creative with industrial design firm Frog, argued the user experience is key.
“There are plenty of examples where a really useful service becomes impossible to use,” said Sergio (pictured), giving the example of the time-out for USSD which is a limitation that is unclear to the user.
“The user tries to do something but basically gets kicked out in two minutes. They don’t understand why. They think they might have completed the process, or think they haven’t.
They then feel insecure and stop using the service,” summarised Sergio.
“So poorly designed services hinder adoption and, in the end, hinder the option to make money,” he said.