Bluetooth Low Energy, Beacons by Apple & Paypal

Touted as the NFC killer, this technology solution is backed by two big names now, Apple and Paypal. Bluetooth low energy is a wireless technology intended at making payment easier for the users at stores with considerable lower cost and reduced power consumption. Some of the Bluetooth low energy based payment systems launched recently are as follows:-

PayPal initially experimented with Geo locating, leveraging GPS and Wi-Fi for iOS and android but they found that it sucked the battery life too quickly and would be a nuisance to customers. They turned to BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy through which connected devices can communicate with each other with the consumption of a very low amount of energy. This led to the creation of PayPal Beacon, a hardware device for merchants designed to enable a hands free payment experience for consumers.

How exactly does the Beacon work? Consumers have to download the Paypal app for their smartphones. Once a customer walks into a store, the hardware automatically detects the users phone and triggers a vibration to confirm check in. The customers photo then appears on the merchants’ point of sale system after which the payment confirmation is done verbally without touching his mobile phone or credit card. The receipt is sent directly via email. Watch this video to understand it better:

Apple’s iBeacon also works on Low Energy Bluetooth (BLE), it is also called as Bluetooth 4.0 & Bluetooth Smart. In real life scenario it would be more of a location-aware, context-aware, pervasive small wireless sensor beacon which will know where you are, what are you doing, how long have you spent time at which location, which merchant, in which isle of merchant store, users would be served personalised in-store offers. And you never know, you might get a custom personalized welcome message next time you go shopping as merchant might know you through iBeacons. It could enable payments at the point of Sale (POS) such that you don’t need to remove your wallet or card to make a payment. It could be a possible Near Field Communication (NFC) threat. It would be interesting to see how merchants/retailers react to this new technology.

The most exciting part - Apple’s First iBeacon Location has been Made Public and @ Lets Talk Payments we thought of covering it first hand. The first location will be Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.