- Mastercard and WeWork, a workspace-sharing company with 150,000 members, are testing Internet of Things technologies at WeWork's San Francisco location, according to a press release. Several Mastercard technologies are being deployed with WeWork, including digital payments, analytics, security and loyalty programs that are bundled with specialized IoT hardware and cloud software.
- Members can also pay for the actual time they use the WeWork's digitally-connected "hot desks," giving them greater flexibility in sharing the workspace with other members. The pilot program relies on Cisco's Kinetic IoT data platform to make the process of being billed more seamless and cost-effective for WeWork's members.
- WeWork and Mastercard's service also lets members buy items from the Honesty Market, WeWork's snack and beverage self-service kiosk that works on the honor system — without using a credit card or digital wallet to make a payment. The Honesty Market uses AVA SmoothShop technology to track purchases wirelessly.
IoT technology is gradually creeping into shared-use spaces, with transaction processor Mastercard testing its wireless payment services at WeWork, apartment and office buildings, college campuses, fitness clubs and vacation rentals. The transition is part of the evolution of the gig economy that lets people pay for services as they need them, as exemplified by the success of companies like Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit — which was recently acquired by Ikea — and Airbnb.
The idea behind WeWork's new partnership with Mastercard is to make access to its shared facilities, equipment and supplies easier while still being mindful of security concerns. For Mastercard, it ensures more users are engaging with its mobile technologies including payments features that might provide it more customer data.
The gig economy is growing more prevalent in the U.S. as people seek side jobs to supplement their incomes, especially since most Americans are worse off than they were before the Great Recession, according to a study from the Federal Reserve Board. WeWork makes money in that economy by providing a workspace for freelancers who don't want to meet clients in their studio apartment or depend on a nearby Starbucks for wireless internet. Bringing bleeding edge technology like IoT into its business might bolster its appeal — and the work efficiency of its members.