CALGARY -- A new application and its companion embedded point-of-sale device could help operators hurdle some barriers hindering greater adoption of mobile payments in vending machines. Devised by Canada's PayLab Networks Ltd., the tech package is said to enable a "frictionless" and secure vend transaction by leveraging the hardware and location services on smartphones and coupling that with data capture and sensors embedded in the vending machine.
Notably, PayLab does not rely on NFC, which limits access to roughly half the smartphone market. Rather, PayLab's iOS and Android apps connect with the POS device through sensors and imaging software, working with the company's cloud-based servers.
The PayLab payments technology officially debuts at the National Automatic Merchandising Association's OneShow in April at Chicago's McCormick Place. Operators can see it in action at booth No. 216. As part of the rollout, the company is seeking to partner with operators who are looking for ways to create "compelling experiences" at machines, increase sales and revenues, and generate greater brand loyalty.
PayLab boasted that it didn't just design a new product, but a new process that "captures the imagination of the user in ways that a traditional mag-stripe card reader simply can't." The platform is based on the premise that the smartphone will soon replace credit cards as the preferred cashless payment medium.
"During the initial development stage, we examined how other mobile payment solutions, including Starbuck's wildly successful mobile wallet, were able to engage their audiences and we are now bringing those same ideas and innovations to vending," said PayLab senior vice-president of business development Mike McCrady.
Mobile devices are quickly becoming the wallet of choice for consumers, according to McCrady, and PayLab's platform is intended to leverage that trend to drive same-machine sales.
PHOTO: The PayLab device has an onboard camera that can read a barcode and a sensor that detects a consumer in front of the machine. Once a consumer is detected, the vend process is initiated. Gesture tracking and motion data are enabled by the consumer's phone. When the consumer wants to make a purchase, they open the PayLab app and wave it in front of the camera. In doing so, they create a unique data set (or signature) made up of acceleration, angle and rotation that is pushed to the cloud where it is compared with data from the camera. The process takes about two seconds, and, unlike NFC, it creates a unique signature for each transaction that can't be skimmed or replicated.