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)

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