CMA Finalists 2012: Best contactless / NFC infrastructure

 It’s not always happening at the front end. Without a solid and reliable infrastructure in place, containing tags, registers, readers, POS terminals – you name it – nothing would happen. This time it’s the turn of the backend players to have the ability to win an award in their own right, for putting together a suitably impressive project, rollout or venture.

The 2012 finalists are:

  • ViVOtech – Single-tap point-of-sale (POS) transaction (Global)
  • Greggs/Spire Payments – The largest contactless payment deployment in the retail sector by number of points of sale in Europe to date (UK)
  • VeriFone – VeriFone Taxi System in London (UK)
  • Proxama – Touchpoint platform (Global)

Our first finalists is ViVOtech for their Single-tap point-of-sale (POS) transaction.

A single-tap point-of-sale (POS) transaction is a POS transaction at a given retail store location typically consisting of 3 key types of data, i.e. Coupons, Loyalty and Payment. Today the use-case for a typical Non-NFC POS transaction consists of a consumer handing over coupons, followed by a loyalty card swipe and then finally a payment card swipe. While the above steps can still be accommodated with an NFC phone enabled tap transaction, there is a clear opportunity to improve the process by eliminating the multiple steps with clearly measurable benefits to both consumer and retailer. ViVOtech drove the first concept of single-tap transaction in the NFC mobile payment industry that enables a consumer to conduct a single-tap transaction whereby the applicable coupons, loyalty and payment data are passed from the phone to the POS in a single tap with minimal interaction by the consumer. It was adapted by Google very early and is already implemented by various POS vendors.

The data for monitoring results (i.e. duration, traffic and sales) are tracked by the retailers and is strictly proprietary. High-level feedback on performance is provided by the retailers to partners such as ViVOtech. ViVOtech has shipped nearly 1 million contactless readers worldwide. At a large grocery chain, it could be 100’s of transactions per day per POS location within 3-5 years. At the moment 80% of all deployments are add-on but this will change over the next few years. NFC single-tap transactions are bi-directional so data can be pushed both ways enabling transaction generated content (e.g. new coupons, electronic receipts, ticket purchases, gift cards, card top-up, etc.) to be pushed to the phone along with a digital receipt, at the end of a transaction.

If you are reading this and you live in the UK – you may know about the UK Chancellors’ ‘Pastygate’. Put simply for those living outside of the UK and unaware of this new tax that was announced in the Spring 2012 Budget – if your take-away food is hot when you buy it then it is taxed. If it is cold when you get it then it is not taxed (perhaps even if it was supposed to be hot when you bought it). If you have a super fast way of paying – your food will still be hot – and taxed… I know, but it has kept the UK amused/outraged for a few weeks so I thought I would mention it here. Mainly because up next is Greggs/Spire Payments for the largest contactless payment deployment in the retail sector by number of points of sale in Europe to date. 

Greggs, expert bakers for over 70 years and now a leading UK supplier of convenience bakery products, has announced it is now accepting payments by card across its countrywide network of over 1,570 stores, employing more than 3,500 Spire Payment devices. Spire Payments’ T4220 terminals, which include contactless technology, enable customers to ‘touch and pay’ in less than a second, helping to reduce queue times during peak trading periods and particularly at lunch time.

Card acceptance is now fully deployed across the Greggs store network and a phased roll out of contactless payment acceptance is now well underway to equip each outlet. A spokesperson at Greggs said “Card payments and especially contactless payments are extremely suitable for our growing business. The introduction of contactless payments will greatly enhance the customer experience within Greggs”. This is the largest contactless payment deployment into the retail sector by number of points of sale in Europe to date.

There are currently in excess of 4500 readers in use and that number is growing as more Greggs stores continually open on this project. Greggs say they have seen a rise from 2.0% of all card transaction being contactless at the start of the year to now approximately 2.67%.

A well-known face on the contactless circuit is VeriFone and they are nominated here for their VeriFone Taxi System in London.

The VeriFone Taxi (VTS) System is a contactless/NFC enabled card payment solution for London cab drivers. Approved by Transport For London (TfL), it is available free (kit and installation) to all of London’s 22,000 licensed taxis. Unlike any other vehicle based system, it comprises a customer side card reader and VX810 PINpad for optimum convenience. The VX520 processing unit and integral receipt printer are located in the driver side of the cab and connected to the taxi metering system. Installation can be done easily in 2-3 hours, so cabs are back out on the street in no time. There is also an online reporting portal for drivers to monitor transactions . In addition a VeriFone Media in-cab multimedia entertainment system – comprising full colour screen, sound system and streamed content – is also offered ‘free’ to VTS enabled drivers.

All equipment is manufactured and supplied by VeriFone who also have a dedicated team and central London facilities for installation and maintenance. The system was designed specifically for London licensed taxis by VeriFone in conjunction with guidance from the TfL who have approved the system. Initial trials were run in 2010 in conjunction with Visa.

All of the transactions from the VTS installations are processed by VeriFone’s Merchant Managed Service hosted gateway. This provides complete transaction records for all payments – cash, card and contactless. Integrated management tools are used to transfer appropriate fare earnings to the taxi drivers and to calculate and recoup processing and transaction fees. At the same time VeriFone regularly performs driver surveys to provide feedback that helps them enhance the system and service. Additionally, VeriFone’s extensive system reporting portal, allows drivers to keep track of all their transactions online in real time.

London taxis take 200,000 fares per day and the average fare is between £10 and £15 making it ideal for current contactless value limits. Over 60% of taxi passengers are ABC 1, aged 25-44 making them most likely to be issued with contactless bank cards as they roll out. In addition, almost 100% of passengers carry and use a mobile phone when on their journey, so NFC transactions are anticipated to be high. VeriFone aims to make all London’s 22,000 Licensed taxis contactless. On average 3% of card transactions are contactless and in February, VeriFone Taxi Systems took 19043 card transactions across the entire taxi estate.

Our final finalist in this category is Proxama and they have been nominated for their Touchpoint platform.

TouchPoint™ is an NFC marketing and voucher service that enables mobile marketers to rapidly launch NFC marketing and voucher campaigns. The TouchPoint™ Platform consists of three parts:

  1. TouchPoint™ Campaign Management Service (CMS)  supports NFC campaign management and enables brands and agencies to create, maintain and analyse NFC marketing campaigns. These include voucher collection and redemption, NFC loyalty cards, business cards, video and social media and application downloads.
  2. TouchPoint™ Mobile Application  Linked to the TouchPoint™ CMS and supports the deployment of NFC marketing campaigns. It programmes and validates NFC tags with campaign data and assigns location information.
  3. Tag Center™ Mobile application  A next generation NFC marketing app. Tag Center™ supports feature rich campaign content and offers. Handset manufacturers and mobile operators can create their own branded content.

TouchPoint™ enables companies to design and build their own NFC marketing campaigns and programme the tags without any technical expertise, using simple wizard tools. Advanced tools enable developers to produce content rich applications using customised graphics and code. A fully branded NFC campaign can be created with the ability to track and evaluate campaign activity by location, date and time.  Branded Tag Center™ applications, much like branded browsers, can allow handset manufactures and MNOs to create customer loyalty. Tag Center™ is supported by all NFC platforms ensuring broad consumer reach and providing the consumer with an instant brand experience, even when no connectivity is available. Indeed, the application caches web content so subsequent interactions are supported even when no connectivity is available.

Exclusive offers can be made to consumers with a specific mobile operator or phone model and the end-user receives an enhanced experience of NFC with the Tag Center™ application. The mobile app provides a History list, and the ability to mark particular tags as Favourites. Users new to the technology can use the Help section provided to better understand how the application works.

Proxama is working with leading handset manufacturers and network operators to ensure the TouchPoint™ Platform is compatible with all future handsets. The company’s global agreement with Nokia means that Tag Center™ will be preinstalled on Nokia handsets in certain regions and markets; in others the application is readily available to download from app stores. Proxama are partnering with O2 and Isobar in the first NFC Accelerator event, allowing brands and agencies to use the TouchPoint™ Platform to create and develop their NFC marketing ideas. Events like these educate brands on the possibilities of NFC as well as helping Proxama to improve TouchPoint™, ensuring it continues as a leading NFC platform.

So these are the finalists for the Best Contactless/NFC Infrastructure category.  The winner will be announced at the Gala Dinner on the evening of the 26th April. Who will it be? ViVOtech, VeriFone, Proxama or Spire Payments. And if it is Spire Payments – will we all get a free pasty? Register below:

Register for Contactless Intelligence Spring Conference and Contactless & Mobile Awards Dinner in London, United Kingdom  on Eventbrite

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Categories: CI Spring Conference, Contactless & Mobile Awards, Contactless Payments, Contactless Technology, Mobile Payments, Near Field Communications, Ticketing

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