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Showing posts with label Apps Financial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apps Financial. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Bank inside a Phone



Yes you read it correctly, A Little World (ALW), a Mumbai-based company, which has come up with a unique idea: turning a regular mobile phone to play the role of a bank’s branch.

Faced with the challenge of creating affordable solutions to enable penetration of banking in rural areas, ALW came up with this solution. The equipment costs not more than Rs 30,000 (pounds 400 or $700) through which a bank’s branch becomes functional and offers facilities like depositing/withdrawing money, electronic money transfer, crediting of pension money and also having an online passbook.


Other peripherals that make up the branch are a printer-cum-fingerprint scanning machine, cash box to store upto Rs one lakh in cash and a high resolution camera. The mobile phone can store data of upto 50,000 customers including the entire identification profile comprising a picture and six fingerprint templates among other details.


A big opportunity was unlocked after RBI announced a new policy initiative to allow banks to do business using the ‘business correspondent’ model. Under this, a bank ties up with third parties like ALW’s clients Zero Mass to conduct business in far-off areas on behalf of the banks. All the mobile phones have latest security features and are connected to ALW (the technology and backend partner for Zero mass) servers using GPRS or EDGE technology. The ALW server is in turn connected to the core-banking server of the client bank due to which a transaction is made possible just like it happens in a conventional way.


The critical necessity to opening a branch though is the availability of mobile coverage at the villages and ALW has tie ups with all the major GSM mobile phone operators in the country. Zero Mass currently has tie ups with 24 banks to operate their banking operations in remote and unserviced areas across 18 Indian states.


Christened as ‘Zero Platform’ for branchless banking based on mobile, a branch is typically set up in the village grocery store or panchayat office. Peripherals like the printer and camera are connected to the mobile phone using Bluetooth technology and the entire system has been designed so that it can function even during power cuts, which the villages often experience. “The selected handset (either Nokia or Motorola) has features for encryption and decryption of data through which we can make use of a public medium like GPRS to send data,” says ALW’s Chief Technology Officer Anurag Gupta.


In a short span of a year, ALW has set up over 2,800 branches for Zero Mass across the country and has plans to increase the total number of branches to 5,000 by December this year. The accounts are opened free for a period of 10 years and Zero Mass currently boasts of over 12 lakh accounts with around 20,000 added everyday. “The mobile phone operated branch is a great idea. I fail to understand why others in the same space like us have not made use of existing technologies to come up with feasible solutions like this which offer exponential growth opportunity due to low capital expenditure,” says Gupta.


Zero Mass’s motto is to increase electronic transactions like payments and crediting of accounts , Gupta says. Keeping this in view, customers are encouraged to use the account for electronic money transfer, insurance premium payments, depositing of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) wages and pension funds in the account. As a pilot project, mobile recharge payments are also being done through Zero Mass-operated branches.


ALW gets a certain amount as technical fees for rendering its services while Zero Mass gets a percentage as commission for each deposit and withdrawal transaction made at the branch. Gupta, also a director at Zero Mass, says the way forward for the company is to make use of the platform for more profitable transactions offering bigger commissions such as mobile phone recharges and railway ticket booking.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Thumbs up to NFC in London trial

Guardian reported, Passengers on London Underground could be using their mobile phones to get through the ticket barriers and even pay for their lunch within the next two years, after a successful trial of technology in the capital by O2 and Transport for London.

The mobile phone company integrated Oyster card technology and a Barclaycard Visa card into a Nokia 6131 handset and gave it to 500 testers who spent six months using the phone as a mobile wallet.

  • 78% want to use contactless services on their mobile phone
  • Nine out of ten trialists were happy using NFC technology on a mobile phone
  • Interest in having Oyster on their mobile phones was particularly strong with 89% of trialists saying they were interested in taking this up
  • Over two-thirds of trialists also said that they would be interested in having the Barclaycard Visa payWave feature on their mobile in the future.
  • Having Oyster on their mobile phone actually increased trialists use of public transport. One in five (22%) trialists using Pay as You Go Oyster reported that they increased the number of journeys they made on public transport during the trial.
  • Overall, almost 50,000 tube journeys took place using the O2 Wallet during the six month trial.
  • 67% said that they found it more convenient to use than a standard Oyster card.
  • 87% said that availability of the service would be likely to influence their purchase of a new mobile phone.
From Guardian again, In Japan, such phones have been in use for more than four years. The Japanese railway network has been using the technology since 2001 and millions of cards have been issued. But the technology used in Japan is based on Sony's FeliCa chip technology, which is different from that used in the O2 trial and by Transport for London for the Oyster card.

Philip Makinson, at industry experts Greenwich Consulting, said mobile wallets had fallen down in the past because of the number of people needed to make any system viable.

"It requires cooperation, not just between handset manufacturers and network operators but third parties such as Visa or Mastercard and banks and retailers. To reach critical mass you really need to have at least three of the big operators to be involved or there is not enough in it for the likes of Transport for London or Nokia," said Makinson.

Several of the UK's five mobile phone networks are understood to be interested in mobile wallets.

"There does seem to be consumer demand for it, people are saying they want to carry less stuff around with them," said Makinson.
The results of the O2 trial show that people like using a mobile phone to do more than send texts and talk.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Forum Oxford Conference 2008

A lot of leading mobile industry visionaries and enthusiasts met under the banner of "Forum Oxford Conference 2008". Lots of ideas were generated and discussed. I was fortunate to attend this event for the second year running. For those who may not know, I started this blog after attending this event last year. I was a bit surprised to see far less attendance then last year even though the fees were peanuts compared to many other conferences. Maybe people dont realise the value of these kinds of events.

Here is summary of some presentations which is in my own words and that of other bloggers and people who have posted on this topic. You may want to read more on these here.

The first topic was - "Pictures are better on Radio" by Mark Selby, Vice President, Industry Collaborations, Nokia

A survey of what people use their mobiles threw some interesting results:
  • Voice - 12%
  • Browsing - 8%
  • Games - 4%
  • Messaging - 37%
It is interesting to realise that mobile usage for voice is decreasing.

Mobiles can be used for 4 reasons:
  • Create
  • Consume
  • Interact
  • Connect
The BBC has 200 journalists trained to use high end 3G cameraphones as personal broadcast-trucks-in-the-pocket. Radio is a social media ie where PC users might use the internet as a chat board, radio listeners can send in their comments via SMS and DJ's can comment on them, recognize new listeners who have not commented yet, etc.


How many people control their own wife/partner?
We don’t think of it in that way because it is a relationship. In the same way, we as an industry cannot hope to ever ‘control’ a customer

Back in the 70s, Convergence was a set of three arrows pointing to a yellow cloud (IT, Media and Telecoms) and everyone expected to ‘solve’ the problem in a matter of months

DRM is an odd concept. If you threw a device into a window, can you blame the manufacturer for the damage to the window? If not, how can we hope to legislate against devices?

OVI is an open platform customers can choose which feeds they can display on OVI(for instance CNN etc etc) – not necessarily from Nokia. Abolish the word user generated content!!

By 2012, 25% of stuff will be created, edited, etc by Mobile devices.

You can get an idea of Mark's presentation by checking out this and this.

The next presentation was Jonathan MacDonald on Blyk:

The biggest problem Blyk users complain about, is that they want more of the ads.
They have already 100,000 users.
To learn more about Blyk see this and this.

The next was "Browser extensions (DOM extensions) and accesssing device API's" - David Pollington, Vodafone:


You can download this presentation with comments on Mobile Monday site here.

The next one was "How to Integrate Facebook with IMS" by Niklas Blum, Fraunhofer FOKUS:

This was a very interesting presentation and there were some strong statements made like CS will dissaper and SIP centered platforms will be everywhere. The market will become open services centred and the result will be convergence.

A similar presentation to this one is available here.

The next one was "iPhone Applications" by William Volk, MyNuMo:

Apple created a new ecosystem. That’s the key difference. So should others(hear hear!)

The main thing people like iPhone is because it has browser that works.

The developers like iPhone because it has this discovery mechanism by which new applications and games get detected. Advertised sponsered games generate 11% click thru. Bowling Game (non advertised) generated 2.95% click thru.

Next was "Youth and Mobile and Music and TV" by Luciana Pavan, MTV:



Comments from their youth survey included "mobile is the symbol of coolness" and "mobile is my best friend". They have two camera crews shooting MTV content such as Jackass, one group shooting for the TV screen, the second for mobile. Same content, two approaches to producing, optimized for each screen type. (Clever...).
Flux on MyMTV in Japan - best user-generated videos will end up on broadcast MTV Japan.
MTV MVNO in Belgium has 16% of the subscriber base.
And at MTV Germany the FunkySexyCool mobile dating service had similarities to Flirtomatic.

Next was "Delivering Global Mobile Service" by Cameron Doherthy, Mobile Concierge:
There was some interesting demonstration of how Blackberry can be used for lots of services like booking airline tickets and golf games.

Then Alan Moore on belaf of Xtract spoke on "Social Marketing Intelligence, the Black Gold of the 21st Century":


Lines are made by man! Nature has networksCustomers connect, corporations broadcast!

His main focus was operators who have become more like bitpipes whereas if they are clever they can use this data and exploit it for their own benefit. Their product can help them with a lot of this analysis. You can get a gist of his presentation here.

Then there was this debate between Tomi Ahonen and Dean Bubley about "Will the future of internet be shaped by mobile or is the PC still in control".

Even though the conclusion was that the PC is still in control, personally i feel mobile will be the one that will dominate. See my earlier post here.

Simon Cavill from Mi-Pay spoke on "Mobile Initiated Financial Services in the Developing world":


This was the mind-boggling presentation. Not that they can move money on mobile, and that it can be done cross-borders, but that international transfer of airtime is emerging as a monetary instrument. Not only "printing money" but as Simon said, they are now creating a whole new currency. Simon also pointed out that where mobile phones are aspirational in the West, they are much more so in the developing world. A phone is the most desired item in Africa. Airtime could be the euro of the developing world!

Then we had "Mobile Social Networking" by Antonio Vince Stabyl of itsMY:

Do we ‘Caralize’ airlines? I.e. develop a new format based on an earlier format?Doctors and other demographics who have never heard of online social networks, are directly adopting mobile social networks. 4 seconds after an earthquake – they had the first images. That’s the power of mobile!New mediums have new leaders

Finally Christian Lindholm of Fjord spoke on "Dawn of New Mobility. Thoughts on the future of Mobiles, Services and Their Adoption"

Key design principles ..
How much can you do with one hand?
What’s the largest device that can fit inside a pocket
A ‘PC’ is a swear word in Nokia!

You may also be interested in a related presentation here.

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