What is happening in the payments industry?
The current leading technology development within payments is contactless payment. There are many companies trying to develop the next thing, biggest being GoogleWallet, Square, and Isis. GoogleWallet and Isis are building on a NFC solution while Square has another approach. The underlying technology in today's payment cards, magnetic stripes, was developed over 40 years ago. There hasn't really been any significant innovations concerning security – the chips in today's cards are more secure than the magnetic stripe but both can, and are, subject to theft and fraud.
The underlying problem, according to Uniqul, is that you are still required to do mostly the same things as before – taking out your wallet or signing into a mobile app, waiting for the cashier to be ready to accept payment, entering pin, waiting for authorization by the bank, maybe signing a receipt, putting away your wallet or mobile phone and at last you can start bagging your groceries. The current solutions have not addressed convenience, security or speed.
Uniqul, a Finnish startup, aims to solve all three problems at once.
Face Recognition Payment System
Our face is very unique – unique enough that only the most advanced and expensive plastic surgeries can duplicate, and even that only to some extent. That's why Uniquls system uses military grade algorithms to make sure that the security is impeccable. Uniqul's developers have written and improved the program so that it can perform everything in the blink of an eye and also bring a friendly user interface (UI) to customers.
Uniquls patented HyperglideTM technology will change the future of electronic payments as well as other cognitive verification methods. In addition to the replacement of traditional cards and mobile wallets, Uniqul can be utilized to verify ID and credentials in different environments.
How Uniqul works
The system consists of a HD camera with a face detection function, a customer tablet and a switching hub. When the customer is approaching the cashier area, the camera will detect his/her face and register the customer to the queue. After the cashier scans all the items from the shopping cart, the system will automatically display the confirmation of payment. Behind the scenes, all data is obtained from the cloud, and the only thing that the system needs is the customer's confirmation. The whole transaction will be done in less than 5 seconds – the time it usually takes you to pull out your wallet.
Imagine going in to a kiosk, picking up a newspaper at the cashier, clicking "Ok" on a Uniqul tablet and walking away. Imagine a day at the beach when you don't have to think about where to store your wallet during your swims. Imagine when your wallet, money and keys are stolen, you are alone and hungry in the night; you still can buy a BigMac and open your door. Cool, isn't it?
Firstly, it helps us save our precious time. Around 30 seconds per use will accumulate to a large chunk on a yearly basis, not counting how much you will save when others in the queue are using Uniqul too. According to the Finnish startup, one shopper can save upwards of 10 hours per year, counting other people in the queue using Uniqul too. If someone ignores the amount of time saved, they can't deny the fact that Uniqul can be invaluable if you happen to lose your wallet.
And what if your card is stolen or skimmed? What would it take to make the recognition procedure secure? And the answer is obvious – time. When you have time to do the recognition, you can make it extremely secure. Cards can be lost or stolen, passwords can be looked up or forgotten, but you cannot forge an identity which is not discoverable over time. And when the developers at Uniqul understood that, it became completely clear: the time is the most important factor, to make it secure and to make it fast. This is why Uniqul starts its algorithms as soon as it picks up a face in its database, and works with multiple pictures so that it can be absolutely sure that the recognition is done correctly. Because the algorithm started the recognition process early it will have a positive matching result when it is time to pay.
Thirdly, this solution will show you how convenient life can be. Imagine having your wallet at home. And you can still use it anywhere you go. Wouldn't this be convenience? The Finnish startup decided not just to enable people to walk without wallets – but to travel wallet-free. The new cloud technologies, which Uniqul is built upon, enable your wallet to be anywhere you need it, in an instance of a second. And that's what convenience should be according to the startup.
On the other side, merchants and shop owners can save tremendous amounts of time and effort. If the shop has 150 Uniqul customers per day that means that the owner saves over 1 hour of cashier time per day through faster transaction times. The Merchant will also have the possibility to offer targeted incentives to bring in new customers or reward their existing ones through the Merchant platform which is set to launch during this autumn.
Maybe this is the future of payments?
Uniqul also demonstrates their view of how the product will work at different locations, see the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDO4hdfY11U