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April 20, 2017

Listen up: Sound Waves Speed POS for Mobile Payments

According to a recent announcement, Chirp, a technology company based in the UK, has created a solution designed to deliver a secure mobile payment experience at zero cost to the retailer.

It launched this week in 40 independent coffee shops across Hong Kong in partnership with pre-pay coffee app Kawa Coffee. Chirp uses data over audio and proximity sensors to authenticate an app and coffee order, taking the payment from a users pre-paid account. Previously, to use Kawa, employees had to enter a PIN into customer phones, slowing down the process at the till.

Watch a video of the technology in action.

Holding a phone against the device triggers a proximity sensor to play audio data file that authenticates the location and coffee order with Kawa’s app, which then settles the payment by debiting the users pre-paid account and crediting the coffee shop directly. No data connection is required, so users get the mobile NFC experience without any need for other in-store payment equipment.

The same technology is also being used to authenticate passengers using the Shuttl minibus/taxicab service in India via an audio ticket.

As a so-called data-over-sound toolkit, Chirp was launched in 2011 by a team of experts in acoustics and communication at University College London. The company said that its customers can use this technology that enables the interconnection of millions of new types of things, without RF.

Kawa is a mobile app that helps users find specialty and independent coffee shops, and lets users pre-pay for their drinks through the app, at a discount. Users choose between a Black plan for Espressos and Americano, or a Fancy Plan for Latte, Cappuccino and other milk based coffees.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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