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MasterCard funds new lab at Media Lab, Sloan program

MasterCard International is funding a $5 million laboratory at MIT's Media Lab that will explore innovative technologies to help consumers, businesses and retailers conduct transactions easily, efficiently and securely.

The MasterCard Future of Transactions Laboratory will be a core resource for MIT's new e-markets special interest group, composed of manufacturers, distributors and technology companies who will study the future of commerce.

In addition to MasterCard's agreement with the Media Lab, the company will also become a high-level sponsor for the Center for eBusiness at the Sloan School of Management. While Media Lab researchers focus directly on technology, Sloan faculty will research complementary issues -- new business models for e-markets, pricing structures, consumer shopping behavior and attitudes.

"The technologies we will be pursuing in the new laboratory will touch the lives of the average consumer," said Nicholas Negroponte, director and co-founder of the Media Lab. "Buying and selling is an essential part of our everyday lives. Making the process more flexible, more convenient and more secure will have significant benefits to both consumers and businesses."

The Future of Transactions Lab will explore a number of technologies in the payments and electronic commerce process, including remote devices; electronic authentication technology; and cell phones, pagers and palmtop PCs, which provide an alternative delivery system for Internet access and infrared technology that allows point-and-shoot data transfer among notebook PCs, personal digital assistants and client systems.

The Media Lab and Sloan School will research areas such as mobile shopping, electronic exchanges, software agents and profiling and privacy issues.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 3, 2000.

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