If there's anything that's going to delay the mobile wallet's future on a global scale rivaling, well, telephony itself, it's going to be because there are so many players and stakeholders tilling the same soil to sow what they hope to reap.
The fact that so many giants and would-be giants are trying to make their networks and systems-in-development the standard mobile wallet platform ensures a battle royale.
The development race will be just that, a race.
But, in the end there will only be a few competitors and everyone else will cease chasing the Holy Grail and fall in under one or another network.
But, because we're investors seeking an edge and know that by the time the end-game is resolved the big money will have been made, we are looking for a "heads-up" on where to place our bets early.
A Mobile Wallet Heads-Up: This Will Be CriticalThe answer to that will be evident by watching whose systems and networks offer the best interoperability.
It won't be just about who owns the rails that tomorrow's locomotives will run on. If there are a lot of different sets of tracks headed towards the same destination, what will matter will be how many trains travel each track and pay what tolls .
The way to gauge who is laying the most attractive tracks will be visible in terms of which systems offer the most intersections from which dead-end travelers can reverse course and join the mainstream path to everyone's desired destination.
That's where interoperability will be critical.
Who will build their systems and networks to best and most easily allow parallel ecosystems to merge, or converge, onto a set of easily accessible shared tracks.
The shakeout will result in some spectacular losses.
So, it's better to be on the right side early on than to take your lumps and invest what's left in the final contestants, all of whom will continue to fight for dominance for years to come, if not forever.
But, it's not just the end-game winners we're seeking, though they will emerge and we will be invested there long before the finish line is in sight.