Thursday, 30 October 2014

Vitamap winner of NASSCOM Emerge 50 awards - 2014

Hurray ! Vitamap declared one of the winners of NASSCOM Emerge-50 2014. We would like to thank our customers, partners and employees who made this possible. Its a privilege to be part of this distinguished group. Our hearty congratulations to the rest of the winners.

Emerge50 2014 NASSCOM

mEdge in Emerge50

"NASSCOM Emerge 50 2014 Awards are result of a year-long search for India’s Most Innovative top 50 emerging software product-centric companies. The awards are characterized by a mixture of burgeoning success stories and promising start-ups that are coming up with exciting new solutions. These are startups and emerging companies to watch out for! Emerge 50 2014 awards are screened from about 450 nominations by Zinnov Management Consulting and further evaluation by eminent Jury"

Thank you NASSCOM and the jury for recognizing us to be part of this distinguished list.

Its been a great month so far for us, after being in the top 30 B2B start-ups in IBMSmartCamp. These recognition motivate us and makes us strive harder to deliver awesome solutions to our customers in the coming days and years.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

mPOS Technology and evolution

Point of Sales (POS) plays a key part in the overall retail ecosystem ensuring smoother purchase of goods and services with the usage of credit/debit cards. With the advent of E-tail and e-commerce which have a significant component of services and goods delivered at home, mobile POS or mPOS devices are becoming a key to successful Cash on Delivery (CoD) Model.

mPOS with mEdgeSquare was an early pioneer in the mPOS systems which disrupted the market with its handy and portable credit card readers which could be hooked to the Audio port of an iPhone device. System involves capturing and reading the credit card information and transferring the data as encrypted audio waves to the phone. A secure app in the phone then transfers the data to the backend verification fulfilling the transaction.
Where the legacy POS devices needed their own GPRS/3G connections, mPOS devices leverages Smart Phone’s connectivity to complete authentication and transaction.

With the ubiquitous and affordable Android smartphones and the volume of E-tail transactions, the time has come for mPOS devices to really make a difference in the ecosystem.In India this has enabled advent of new players in the market like Ezetap, Mswipe, MobiSwipe who are early movers and are making inroads into the mPOS ecosystem.

COD with mEdgeImprovement in card usage volumes and newer regulations like Chip cards, and multiple authentication using PIN numbers required mPOS devices to have higher bandwidth and keypads for PIN entry. The current generation mPOS devices connect to smart phones over bluetooth/wifi/usb for increased bandwidth and provide simple keypads for pin entry.

Customer and credit card information collected using the mPOS device are extremely safe and are transferred in an encrypted form securely from the device to the authentication provider. No data is stored in the mPOS Apps or the Field Service Mobility apps used for operating the mPOS devices. Most countries requires the devices to go through certification programs from the regulators and the transaction facilitators.

As part of the adoption, the mPOS provides simple POS Apps on the smartphone for the retailers to their transactions where actual price is entered, processed and customer’s signature collected. The receipt of the money collection is sent as SMS to the customer which can be viewed online. Once again this system has limitation of customer premise delivery/service as entry of the price, lack of integration can cause overhead.

#paysmart with mEdge

Typical system overview describing the various players in mPOS operations.

This is addressed by the Field Service Mobility platforms like mEdge which leverages on the SDKs (software development kits) of mPOS device vendors to provide a seamless experience for the customer and delivery/service person. Here the amount to be entered is automatically gathered from the business system (Example: Price of the goods bought on the website) reducing errors. On processing the transaction, information is immediately gathered, integrated seamlessly to ERP/CRM systems with Transaction IDs, receipt URLs, Customer signatures, Location etc. This simplifies reconciliation, traceability and data accuracy.

Concluding, mPOS devices will play a key part in the retail and services ecosystem bringing value across the value chain. With the advent of technologies like NFC and Apple pay new possibilities are opening up. In this evolution Vitamap with its mEdge #fieldforce mobility platform will continuously innovate ensuring off the shelf support to key mPOS players enabling an easy and seamless adoption by the enterprises.

- Prasad Nagalapura
(Prasad is the Cofounder of Vitamap and is passionate about bringing change in how enterprises service their customer through the innovative use of Mobility solutions)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The next big thing in Electronic Payments....

It is estimated that almost 75% of the transactions in India transpire in cash. Of this, EY reports 50-80% of online transaction are Cash-on-delivery(COD). Consumers are gaining confidence in using their cards with heightened security on card transactions. With over 400 million cards in circulation, a large majority of debit cards are still not active for purchases, driving e-tailers to term COD as a ‘necessary evil’. Operationally it poses a number of challenges in collection cycles, pressurised cash-flows, pilferage in cash handling and expensive returns. The question arises how does one fulfill 100 million orders on COD as the segment continues to post growth YoY?

There are one million POS machines for 12 million merchants in the country. Traditional POS machines are expensive infrastructure, and their viability is proven only above a certain minimum transaction volume. Bulky POS devices make it a cumbersome task to serve a ‘on the go’ transaction at the customers doorstep.

There is a need for a payment device which comes with a smaller price-tag, ease of use and low-cost deployment and maintenance. At the same time, it should uphold the highest standards of transaction and data security via PIN authentication and all security certification standards. Finally, it should leverage the infrastructure that is available- smartphones and plastic cards, both of which are in abundant circulation today. The same business rules apply and data is to be accurately handled and a payment mode must be available instantly, no matter where and how the consumer chooses to transact.

In India, Mobile POS (mPOS) is bringing in a revolution as the cost of the POS device goes down significantly, as much as 50% of the present cost. Merchants can start to accept card payments simply by pairing their existing smartphones with a pin enabled mPOS device. What's more, a mobile app  such as mEdge can potentially deliver significant value adds in terms with shortened realization cycles and connecting the merchant and bank systems mitigating the operational challenges of COD.  

Globally, Square and Amazons Local register are leading the roost. Homegrown mPOS providers such as Ezetap, mSwipe, RayMedi and FirstData have seen great response in the market. Vitamaps mEdge, a mobile app, works as a single product and service window that deals with multiple entities like Ezetap where transaction speed is at par with other POS terminals, and settlements are received like clockwork.

It is a holistic change to the way businesses get paid, and some of the common pitfalls are centred around deployment, operational and training/staff considerations. Ease of use, hands-on training, security, seamless app management and device management are a few things that should be the focus before rolling out mPOS systems.

According to Accel partners, the size of debit transaction and EMI will increase. However, the biggest addition will be 3rd party wallets. Having said that, COD is not about to go anywhere accounting for more than 50% of online transactions.
COD in India

Usage of mPOS devices will allow users to significantly reduce cash cycles and operational cost savings. Logistic service providers charge merchants to handle cash with handling time ranging between 15-25 days after collection. With mPOS the collection cycles can be reduced to 2-5 days. What’s more is that businesses are able to negotiate supply chain costs with their logistics partners.    

COD has been a catalyst in the Indian e-commerce success story. It offers a fairly risk-free trial process and triggers aspirational purchases for customer segments that do not operate an account, the likes of younger students. With exponentially better mobile technology and apps reaching consumers, mobile payments are touted to be the next game changers.

NASSCOM Tech Series : BYOD 'Strike the right balance'

NASCCOM in an effort to revive their tech series, organised the event titled 'Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Strike the right balance' at the CITRIX R&D Bangalore office.

The meet was well attended with representations from Vitamap, Samsung, Ericsson, Brillio, Avaya and GE among others. The speakers were from Sales and Product teams at Citrix. Most of the audience were looking forward to understand BYOD from a technical as well as a business perspective.

Mobile workspaces are relatively new and do not have a standardized approach among existing players. Jargon such as ‘Bring Your Own Device’(BYOD), ‘Allow Your Own Device’ (AYOD) or even ‘Choose Your Own Device’ (CYOD) are floating around. Whether organisations allow any device or mandate a few devices, the onus is on providing a secure means to allow employees to ‘work anywhere’. Customization and collection of service providers is the call of the season to bring in synergies for those who service BYOD policies.

Enterprise Mobility

While commercial apps pay high attention to user experience, organisations are talking of user empowerment with any device any location access.

Enterprise Mobility with VitamapUsers expect the look and feel of a commercial app while being able to perform activities they would from the office desk. A business can use anywhere between 30-15000 apps! The dilemma however, is how many of these are useful to employees on their mobile device? Who are the most likely group of workers to use a certain class of apps? and the complexity of managing and administering security on all devices across geographies.

Various groups within the organisation have separate mandates. IT is looking at a scalable and self-serviced, secure environment while the business is looking at increased productivity and higher employee satisfaction and the CFO’s office is looking at the financial impact. Buy in from each of the groups is the key to success. The presentation dealt with the common pitfalls in security that can be avoided and means to build a foolproof solution that allows for a great deal of flexibility.

Security and convenience are often at loggerheads when dealing with devices that are not on premise. A panel of security experts, product development and business users revealed, the basis for security remains the same whether the device is on premise or elsewhere. The trick is to have protocols on the server side which will quarantine the device entirely, an app or a file depending on how critical the threat is. Once again, the needs of organisations may differ with the nature of their business.

A pharmaceutical company or a financial company which come under the keen eye of regulations may choose to have only a few groups to use a mobile device with multiple layers of security while a social company may have a slightly less relaxed policy for B-Y-O device management. The panel stressed that, irrespective of the nature of business and policies, all data must be encrypted and make the user more informed for businesses to see the advantages of a BYOD enabled workforce.     

In Conclusion, BYOD is a reality that will become a way of life for most organisations. Businesses with field force are one of the first set of organisations to adopt BYOD . Saving time, increased productivity  and better control while keeping the workforce connected and in sync are a few advantages that #mEdge users have reported.   

#mEdge is a secure and easy-to-use productivity mobile tool developed by Vitamap.