LAS VEGAS —There was a long minute when it seemed that Isis – the mobile payments platform backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile – seemed to die in a first-day keynote at Money2020, the sprawling payments show where innovators flock to strut their stuff.
That near-death moment occurred when Isis CEO Mike Abbott announced he would do a live demo of a refreshed app – and absolutely nothing happened on screen.
Abbot persevered, however, and eventually the app came to life, engendering much applause at the Monday session.
Abbott also won laughs with his quip that “it is easier to get Congress to pass a budget than to get financial institutions and retailers to agree on a payments system.”
Quips aside, Abbott’s news is that Isis will roll out its refreshed mobile payments platform nationally “in a few weeks.”
“In a few weeks,” he added, “we will introduce consumers to Isis in thousands of locations.”
He added, “You can get Isis today.”
That later is important because, in recent months, many payments experts had quietly written off Isis as dead as the company released scant information about the pilots it had launched a year ago in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.
The stumbling block has been that Isis is NFC (Near Field Communications) powered and few merchants presently have NFC-capable terminals and not many more consumers have NFC- equipped mobile phones. Apple, notably, has eschewed NFC thus far on the iPhone.
Nonetheless, Abbott’s Money2020 appearance packed a loud message: Isis has not yet decided the fly the white flag of surrender.
Abbott optimistically added, “By the end of 2014, there will be 30 million Isis devices in the U.S.”