New-Year-2021

Article provided by Sarah Earl, Product Director at RingGo

2020 was a year that no one could have predicted.

There is no denying that the pandemic has changed the way the world works, and the payments and technology industry is no exception.

In 2021 I expect to see increased demand for speed with access and payment. This means that businesses will have to embrace digital solutions, namely apps, to allow for consumers to pay for services in the swiftest and most efficient ways possible.

Next year will also see the enforcement of PSD2 – prompting significant change in the payments industry. It is a regulation that will cause friction for users, thus providing payments and technology providers with an opportunity to create solutions that are both compliant and friction free.

There is no denying that data has been a hot topic for many years now, but 2021 is not the year that the upward trend is set to change. During the coming months of economic unrest, businesses who capitalise on their data to improve their services and make life easier for customers will see probable growth, and those behind the curve will be at risk of sinking.

Finally, this year I hope to see more women in C-level positions within the tech and payments industry, and it is a trend that needs to continue for years to come.

Payments

Next year will see the need for speed with access and payment – this is where I believe we will notice large-scale adoption of app clips and app widgets. These features take away the need to download another app, instead allowing the consumer to take a picture of a sign, access the app clip and pay directly with Apple Pay. This process takes seconds, fulfilling the growing consumer need for speed, instead of tedious minutes signing into an app or having to enter lots of personal details.

From a parking perspective, it is going to be important for us to embrace guests using the app. Consumers are no longer willing to enter all of their details into multiple apps for services. By using app clips, we can allow guest users to pay for parking without the perceived pain point of logging in. Also, embracing the capabilities of Apple Pay and Google Pay are vital components of any e-commerce app. This is how people want to manage their transactions, and we need to work alongside that.

Open banking will also start to have more of an impact on app-based payments. It will bring organisations together for the betterment of the user by sharing innovative ideas through open APIs and also drive competition to meet constantly evolving consumer needs.

PSD2

Regulations and compliance have always felt like a corporate chore. They force us into creating features or solving problems that were never on the roadmap. However, as more and more regulations are likely to hit the payments industry, I challenge us to think of how we can use regulations as an opportunity.

In 2021, PSD2 will finally be enforced, and while this has been pushed back to September, I think it will be part of a year of change in the payments industry. As we try to work around a system that introduces friction for users, it is our opportunity to innovatively create solutions that are compliant and friction free.

The need for a smooth payment process will drive consumers towards SCA compliant payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay in 2021. If your app or website does not feature these payment methods, customers are likely to disengage due to the authentication step up.

2021 is the year to get ahead of the regulation curve by listening to customers and driving innovation through the payments process.

Data

If you aren’t already using data to drive your decisions, then you are likely to be behind the curve. However, 2021 will start to separate those who are really optimising their data from those who are just scratching the surface.

In the same breath, we shouldn’t simply be keeping the data we collect for ourselves; we should be using it to make our customers lives easier.  In the app world, we should be tracking trends of how people use the app, where they drop off and what experience they have to drive our products forward. But we can also use the data we collect to make the process smoother.

When it comes to parking, we have lots of audiences that need the data we collect to make the whole ecosystem work better. From the app developers who provide the right tools, to the local authorities and parking operators that need to understand traffic flow and user needs, through to the motorists who benefit from predictive analytics that make repeat sessions easier. We have been talking about data being the new oil for years now, 2021 is the time to put our money where our data is and use it to its full potential.

Women in tech

Women have definitely started to rise up in the ranks within technology organisations, there is no doubt about that. When I have openings on my product team, I see as many capable female candidates as I do male and I am currently working with some very smart, driven women.

That being said, there still seems to be some limits to what type of work women are embracing in tech and how high they rise. They are few and far between at the C-level, and this is something I would like to see change in the coming years. It will only become more feasible as we pull along the ambitious women coming behind us and raise our voice collectively.

Unfortunately, there is still a disparity between female representation in product organisations versus engineering organisations, and a big part of this is to do with education. A focus in engineering still begins early and forces you down, what feels like, a very rigid path. Product organisations, on the other hand, bring together people from lots of different backgrounds, are more inclusive and collaborative, and cater to people who might not have necessarily started in tech when they were teenagers.

I do see this trend changing as the way we educate children changes. Today they are exposed to coding, and technology in general, at such a young age, it will become a more natural fit for many to pursue in education and as a career. The little girls of today, will become the tech leaders of tomorrow.

Embracing digital 

2020 forced everyone to focus, and as traditional business models were threatened by lockdown regulations, tech flourished. Companies have had to reinforce their core strategies, put research into new and emerging markets or products on hold, cut costs and re-evaluate what their customers really need.

To do this, everyone went digital. From small village stores, fish and chip vans to baby groups. If you haven’t embraced digital to give customers an online offering during lockdown, then you are most likely going to struggle to survive. Parking was no different.

Nobody wanted to touch street furniture when we emerged from months of lockdown, they no longer wanted to stand in queues with other people or carry coins. This meant that parking apps were a lifeline for people wanting to venture out, but also be cautious of a new range of threats from the virus.

2021 will continue – if not quicken – this trend of embracing digital solutions, and apps will be at the centre of it. Organisations need to focus on accessibility and the usability of apps, while considering a more security conscious consumer base.

Sarah EarlAbout the author

Sarah Earl is Product Director at RingGo, the UK’s leading cashless parking provider. Since joining the company straight after completing her Business IT degree in 2006, Sarah began her career as a member of the IT helpdesk, then diverted away from sales into account management.

When RingGo won the Westminster parking account, it provided her with the perfect opportunity to return to her tech roots. She was brought in as product manager, which required her to manage the testing and design process of the bespoke solution for the city. She has since worked her way up to Product Director and has led the charge on releasing a host of industry firsts to market over the last 10 years, including in car payments, space availability tracking and Emissions Based Parking. Her growth and expertise have made her an instrumental force in making RingGo the UK’s leading cashless parking provider.


WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here.

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.