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iOS6 Passbook

There are plenty of good reasons for both consumers and companies to embrace digital wallets right now. They’re more convenient and secure than many other payment methods, but the lack of interoperability between wallet platforms remains the category’s biggest sticking point.

With Wallet Studio, Urban Airship aims to change all that. Launching today, Wallet Studio is a cross-platform way for businesses to build and manage digital-wallet campaigns across multiple platforms — so it could be used to create a wallet campaign for both Apple’s Passbook and Google Wallet.

Urban Airship has built a huge business on the marketing capabilities of push-messaging, so it makes sense for it to tackle digital wallets next. Many brands are looking for ways to push useful offers to consumers, and consumers typically want relevant deals and discounts. Digital wallets makes both possible.

For Urban Airship, digital wallets are also a perfect landing spot for its push messages. Now instead of just getting a push message pointing you to a company’s app or website, you can be sent right to a digital wallet for a coupon or offer that you can use immediately.

VentureBeat will be exploring digital wallets and what it takes to build a compelling mobile-payment experience at our upcoming MobileBeat conference.

Wallet Studio follows Urban Airship’s purchase of Tello back in December, which created a visual editor for Passbook. At the same time, Urban Airship also launched a Digital Wallet group spearheaded by former Tello chief executive officer Joe Beninato. It looks like the company is using some of Tello’s technology to power Wallet Studio’s editor, which lets you create wallet campaigns with a drag-and-drop interface.

“We’re really excited about the idea of being able to work with companies outside of the need for having an app,” Urban Airship chief marketing officer Brian Heiggelke told us in a previous interview. “We think there are a lot of companies where a pass may end up being a better solution for them than an app. Being able to work with those companies and develop a really effective mobile program … is really significant for our business.”

Companies will be able to push Wallet Studio campaigns through apps, email, SMS, and social media. Urban Airship also offers extensive analytics, so you’ll be able to see just how well your wallet campaigns are performing.

Portland, Oregon-based Urban Airship recently raised a $25 million round of funding led by August Capital. The company has raised a total of $46.6 million so far.

Photo: Heather Kelly/VentureBeat


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