Imagine performing payment transactions with the flick of your wrist and/or by just saying a few words into a connected device. And all this without fidgeting with cards and bundles of cash or even your phone. The digital world currently offers an assortment of devices with embedded wireless technologies and dazzling features and these are not even phones. Industry experts believe that the cashless/cardless world of digitized payments would benefit immensely from the internet of things. We have recently witnessed hosts of wearable devices being brought about into the market by both big brands and lesser known players. Such devices would enable one to perform mere physical gestures to perform on-the-go rapid payments. Mentioned below are devices in varied categories having practical capabilities of digital payment system.
Numerous international exhibitions like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona saw the launch of Smart Watches by big companies like LG, Samsung, Sony, Qualcomm and many other players creating a wide scope for e-commerce and payment technology firms to target the smartwatch market space.
In February 2014, a company named LevelUp successfully deployed its payment platform on the Pebble smartwatch enabling the watch to generate QR codes which can be scanned at POS to make relevant payments. Different smartwatches are coming up with different hardware functionalities which can act as tools to implement payment technologies.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear 2 comes with an integrated camera which can find other applications in payment methods requiring visual imagery techniques. The LG GD910 smartwatch comes with voice commands capabilities which can find use in soundwave related payment technologies. The Sony SmartWatch 2 is integrated with NFC hardware which itself finds wide use in payment domains. Casio’s G-shock smartwatch is BLE (Bluetooth low energy) enabled and can find use in Beacon related payment modes.
The slick, sci-fi like headset is a revolutionary device compiled with optical and vocal sensors along with GPS capabilities, Google Glasses hosts a wide range of features which can be applied to payment methodologies. Customized apps can be installed on this device to enable intuitive interaction with banking & e-commerce firms.
In June 2013, a Ukrainian bank named PrivatBank installed such an application which gave the glass user the power to perform a variety of payment options. Using the app, the user can directly pay bills by simply clicking pictures of them, pay by voice at places like fueling stations and scan QR (Quick Response) codes by simply looking at them and order the payment process by simply saying “Pay”. Other functionalities can be embedded involving authentication by QR codes at POS terminals as done by the company Intuit.
Practical scenarios are possible where users could simply find the nearby ATM using Google Glass, walk up to the machine, scan the relevant QR code and make withdrawals without the need of remembering PINs. Banco Sabadell, a Spanish bank actually got an app developed in October 2013 to make such scenarios possible. Besides such applications providing specific needs to the end customer, Google itself has its own Google Wallet service which can be integrated into the device to directly make a variety of payments in the e-commerce space.
Internet of Things
The internet of things talks about the virtual presentation of identifiable objects in the internet-like structure. One such prominent object is the smartband. Those available in the market are also referred as activity trackers or fitness trackers. But the embedded technologies in these bands can find its usage in the payment technology forum.
In the past, companies like Disney have shown capability of NFC enabled bands through MyMagic+ kind of solutions. The band Disney offers to the people coming to its theme parks to be used for payments at rides, stores, hotels, etc. The recent times have shown big companies like Samsung and Huawei coming with advanced form of bands which can truly be called as “smartBands”.
The Samsung S Band is a known activity tracker which has unique RFID capabilities to even track your smartphone. Such RFID capabilities can find a use in RFID enabled payment applications. Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit and Huawei’s TalkBand can find significant use in the NFC tagging based payment system and Beacon related applications.