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Virtual Office: Apple's Passbook Could Mean Big Things for Small Businesses

July 09, 2012
By Erin Harrison - Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

While Apple’s (News - Alert) entry into the mobile wallet with its Passbook app is a big step for consumers, it could potentially mean even bigger things for small businesses.

In June, Apple announced Passbook at the WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2012 in San Francisco, which will launch alongside iOS6 in the fall of 2012. The system does not yet support payments and is not NFC-based, but Passbook is likely to be a major milestone in the development of mobile payments, according to Datamonitor.

Initially, Apple said the Passbook wallet will be primarily focused on loyalty and ticketing functionality. It will also allow users to use their handsets for boarding passes, event ticketing, couponing, and loyalty card services, and it appears that the system will be functional with a wide range of participating merchants.

“It has the potential to be the biggest game changer for the general public but more importantly to our small business owners of anything talked about at the Moscone on that fateful day,” according to Jeb Brilliant, community manager of (News - Alert)

In a recent blog post, Brilliant (News - Alert) envisages how Apple might proceed with the new product, potentially giving store owners a free iPod Touch or iPad so that can convet their entire point of sale (POS) process to Apple.

“I can see Apple trying to gain some good faith/feelings back and helping out small businesses (like Apple used to be) by giving them the software for free and helping out with the cost of the POS terminals (iPad/iPod Touch).  I think this would go a long way and make Passbook the immediate standard for mobile payments,” Brilliant said.

The full impact of Passbook is remains to be seen, since the product still won’t launch for at least a couple of months. But such an incentive for small-business owners could have far-reaching impact on their businesses.

“If you’re a small business owner that does face to face transactions would this kind of thing interest you?  If Apple subsidized the scanners would you consider altering your POS equipment?” Brilliant queried. “If they offered up a reduced priced iPod Touch would you consider changing your entire sales process?”

This idea is certainly food for thought for small business owners looking at the potential future benefits Passbook may have to offer.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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