INSIGHT

Beyond contactless

Payment’s getting faster, easier and more organic

The humble credit card first slid into our lives in the late 1960s, and it was a long wait until 2007 when contactless made paying for things so much quicker.

The next innovations to make shopping even more seamless are poised to burst into the mainstream, whether it’s by adding extra gadgetry or removing the need for it altogether. And while cards are getting smarter, other payment options - from wearables to biometrics - are fast appearing too. 

Shopping without stopping

Systems to speed up shopping and cut out queues are finding their way into stores. The Panasonic-designed Reji Robo – short for ‘register robot’ – is subtly transforming supermarkets across Japan. As CNET explains, sensors in the system’s baskets identify the items a customer chooses as they’re taken off the shelves. Everything’s totted up at the checkout, and after the customer has paid, the Reji Robo gives them one last helping hand by automatically bagging their groceries.

Amazon is getting offline and aiming to speed up transactions in the real world. Their Amazon Go cashier-less grocery store concept is being rolled out in Seattle, with indications it’ll come here in the future (they’ve registered a UK trademark). The first sensor-equipped store opened in Seattle back in December 2016, letting shoppers instantly charge purchases to their Amazon Prime account before strolling out.

Meanwhile, British startup MishiPay aims to let customers scan items simply by using their phone. Mustafa Khanwala - co-founder, CEO and #VOOM 2016 entrant - came up with the idea while queueing. His aim? To give shoppers, “that Amazon Go experience at a fraction of the cost”. 

Bank card boosters

As online banks pull ahead, the old guard is getting innovative too. Barclaycard’s bPay range of wearables includes the Loop, a slimline silicone chip-holder that can make anything you wear into a contactless payment device. There’s also a standard band and a key fob.

The good old card isn’t dead yet either. As Wired reports, MasterCard has trialled a bank card with built-in fingerprint scanner. 

Biometrics? How handy

We’re all used to Apple Pay and its Android and Samsung brethren, and fingerprint payment is part of everyday life. But more bits of our bodies are set to become extensions of our bank accounts – soon we may be able to pay with our faces, our veins, and even our heartbeats.

Sthaler’s FingoPay biometric reader works by identifying your own unique configuration of veins. And MasterCard and Amazon are jostling to bring payment by selfie to the high street. You just have to remember to blink to show the scanner that you’re you and not a photograph.

Nymi goes even further – it claims to identify you by the unique rhythm of your heart (regardless of whether or not you’ve just been to the gym), then communicating who you are to anything with Bluetooth and NFC. It’s still in development, though, so don’t expect to see the minimalist band available any time soon.  

It gets even better. Unlike traditional telecommunications services, Cloud Voice operates on a licence-based model, so you pay a fixed monthly fee based on your usage – there are no nasty surprises.

Moving telephony and call handling to a single, hosted, managed network makes it easier to predict budgets. And that’s the kind of freedom that allows you to grow, disrupt, surprise and thrive.

Tim says, “We’re creating cost certainty for businesses on their telecoms spend. Previously an organisation would have to buy a PBX regardless of whether they had 200 employees or 2000. With the scale and agility of a cloud-based PBX, a business only needs to buy as many licences as it has employees. It’s easy to scale up or down, so you can respond quickly to the unexpected.”

Shopping with bling

Kerv may have a claim to being the smallest wearable so far. As Mashable explains, it comes in the form of a ceramic and resin ring that doesn’t even need a smartphone connection. The benefits of NFC-embedded rings are obvious: it’s accessible, easy to use, and - unlike a card - it’s impossible for others to tell it can be used to pay for goods unless they see you do it. You’ll just have to remember not to leave it on the public WC sink after you’ve washed your hands.

And yes, there are even such things as Visa payment sunglasses. They’re just a prototype for now, but watch this space... 

It gets even better. Unlike traditional telecommunications services, Cloud Voice operates on a licence-based model, so you pay a fixed monthly fee based on your usage – there are no nasty surprises.

Moving telephony and call handling to a single, hosted, managed network makes it easier to predict budgets. And that’s the kind of freedom that allows you to grow, disrupt, surprise and thrive.

Tim says, “We’re creating cost certainty for businesses on their telecoms spend. Previously an organisation would have to buy a PBX regardless of whether they had 200 employees or 2000. With the scale and agility of a cloud-based PBX, a business only needs to buy as many licences as it has employees. It’s easy to scale up or down, so you can respond quickly to the unexpected.”

RIP the queue?

Of course there’ll be glitches to be ironed while the developing tech and the consumer get to know each other. But it certainly seems like the days of queueing at shop tills may be numbered – so we’ll just have to find something else to grumble about. 

It gets even better. Unlike traditional telecommunications services, Cloud Voice operates on a licence-based model, so you pay a fixed monthly fee based on your usage – there are no nasty surprises.

Moving telephony and call handling to a single, hosted, managed network makes it easier to predict budgets. And that’s the kind of freedom that allows you to grow, disrupt, surprise and thrive.

Tim says, “We’re creating cost certainty for businesses on their telecoms spend. Previously an organisation would have to buy a PBX regardless of whether they had 200 employees or 2000. With the scale and agility of a cloud-based PBX, a business only needs to buy as many licences as it has employees. It’s easy to scale up or down, so you can respond quickly to the unexpected.”

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