Saturday, July 7, 2012

LevelUp - Mobile Payments Via 2D Barcode From Your Phone

LevelUp Mobile Payments Service

Level Up has an interesting angle on mobile payments.

Just as Near Field Communications (NFC) prepares to be rolled out by the major mobile phone operators and device manufacturers , Level Up has chosen to use a software client that generates dynamic 2D barcodes on the user's screen for reading by a cellphone that is affixed to the retail merchant's pay station.

This is innovative.

Where as NFC requires a device with NFC circuitry (a radio and a secure storage location to house the digital keys that associate your phone with the payment card account you wish to use), the use of 2D bar codes for transmission of customer identification is far more universal.  NFC is limited by the number of handsets in the field deployed with this feature.

Nearly every modern phone has a display to render a 2D bar code.

It is possible for a rogue 'man in the middle' camera to position itself behind the merchant's counter and take a picture of the customer's bar code.  The real question is:  Is the 2D bar code dynamically generated per transaction?  (and is there a PIN that must also be entered in by the consumer?)

In my opinion - the market should be open to a multitude of payment media.  It is far more important to achieve a critical balance of users of mobile payments than to have this genre (again) be slowed down as the oligopolists (banks, telecom companies, credit card processors, device manufacturers) pursue their own selfish interests by having their standard win out at the expense of others.

I am not sure about the 0% interchange fee charged by LevelUp.   They are about to receive some serious competition in the next 2 years.  They need to have sufficient financial resources to survive.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Raspberry Pi - A $35US Computer Set To Take Over The World


A dirt cheap, single board computer
A monitor
Some programming skills

This little board could be used as:

  • An embedded PC to add logic to a device that presently has little (ie: A web cam that is empowered to do facial recognition)
  • A low cost Internet access PC
  • An @home sensor network to do home automation and security