How To Build Mobile Applications for the Real World

unCon 2014 Session: Building Real-World Mobile Payment Applications by Andrew Gelina, Founder & CEO, Syrinx, Twitter @andrewgelina, creator of “Pay-at-the-Pump” for Cumberland Farms

The 2014 Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) unConference took place on Friday, November 14th, 2014 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Thought leaders, experts, and entrepreneurs convened to drive discussions on a variety of leading technology issues impacting the industry today.

With no agenda and no pre-planned format, I garnered a following on a discussion about how to successfully build mobile payment applications for the real world. In this session we discussed key components of building real-world mobile payment applications.

Factors of a successful execution and adoption of mobile applications include loyalty and incentive features, the right technology and integration, a streamlined user experience and security. We also discussed trends in terms of the types of technologies being used and the lack of unification.


How do you get your consumers to adopt mobile? It's all about the incentives. Convenience is only secondary. With Cumberland Farms, the mobile app offers savings at the pump and a loyalty program with visible savings for the customer.


Apple is pushing the technology forward with the implementation of Apple pay and NFC touch with the biometric backup. Some companies require integration with ancient point-of-sale systems and other third party applications. The customer experience should be seamless in terms of integration, agility, and ease-of-use.

User Experience

The current implementation with two-factor authentication is probably the safest… it'll be so easy to transact it may feel like shoplifting: just take the items you want out of the store and you are automatically charged for them. How can it get any easier than that?!


Consumers have concerns about the integrity of the transaction as well as who owns or has a copy of their data. The mobile applications being developed for the real-world should take a step in the right direction by using tokenization.

NFC vs Barcode vs pin vs scan

It is too early to predict a clear winner; the technology will have to play itself out. Then again we may be having the same conversation in 5 years…


You are likely to have several different mobile payment applications for the foreseeable future. We don't see any unification because chains don't like to share with one another or cooperatively discount together. Just accept this and develop something before you get left behind.

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About Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC)

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