6 payment innovations from CES

Published
  • January 06 2017, 9:32am EST
The annual Consumer Electronics Show is full of big ideas, from Internet-connected toasters to AI toothbrushes. A few inventions revealed at this year's show could have big implications for payments.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show is full of big ideas, from Internet-connected toasters to AI toothbrushes. A few inventions revealed at this year's show could have big implications for payments.

Alexa learns new tricks

Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa, already lets users order anything they want from the e-commerce giant's vast catalog. But even that wasn't enough for Amazon, which now lets consumers order food from the Amazon Restaurants takeout service in 20 cities. However, because of the limitations of voice control, the feature only lets users reorder past meals rather than place an order from scratch.

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An artificial passenger

Many technology makers are eager to embed Amazon's Alexa assistant into their own products, including cars by Ford and the Lynx android built by China's Ubtech Robotics. The robot is meant to add a sense of intimacy and approachability to Amazon's disembodied digital assistant; as for the cars, Ford is just the first to enable Alexa to monitor a car's status and respond to voice commands — though the features will be rolled out in phases.

A car with its own parking meter

Another idea for in-car payments is the car that can pay on its own to park in designated spots or garages. Visa and Honda announced a partnership with IPS Group to integrate this technology in cars. The IPS app alerts the driver to an available parking spot, and the transaction proceeds from there.

Wearables for passengers

Wearable technologies have had mixed success at resorts—they didn't work at Hershey Park but have been successful at Disney's properties. Now, Carnival is introducing the concept in its cruise ships. Its Ocean Medallion combines payments, access to staterooms, family and friend location, food ordering based on preference, gaming and other entertainment. Venturebeat reports the device is powered by internal technology that combines experiential computing and an "Internet of Things" network of sensors on the ship. The medallions can also be used to speed embarking and disembarking at port, according to the technology website.

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Apple Pay's loyalty potential

Vending machines are perhaps the least personal way to sell items, but it's possible to use mobile wallets such as Apple Pay to enroll vending machine customers into a loyalty program — a concept that seems at odds with the impulsive and anonymous nature of most vending machine purchases. USA Technologies has struck a deal to integrate its MORE. loyalty and payroll deduct platform with Apple Pay for use at as many as 300,000 machines across the U.S. Consumers can enroll and have the USAT loyalty card added directly to Apple Pay.

Food for thought

Samsung made a splash in 2016 with its WiFi refrigerators, luring partners such as Mastercard and FreshDirect, who were attracted to the appliance's ability to order and pay for online grocery orders. Samsung plans to up its game this year with six new web connected refrigerators, for a total of ten models. The technology guts are also getting a makeover, as Samsung updates the operating system to Family Hub 2.0, including a new 21.5-inch LED interface that allows everyone in the house to have a profile along with avatars, photo-sharing, calendars and memos.