Mobile wallets are typically designed to be most useful at the point of sale. Israeli location-based technology vendor WiseSec sees an opportunity to extend a mobile app's utility throughout the store by using beacons that can sense how far away a shopper is.
Bluetooth Low Energy-based beacons are advancing as a way to deliver marketing messages based on a consumer's location in a store. WiseSec, developed technology that takes this concept further by changing the beacon's behavior based on how its distance from the user's mobile device.
"We have taken the beacons that are increasingly popular for indoor use, and have added some extra technology to them," said Vadim Maor, CEO of WiseSec. "That makes the beacons more efficient, more flexible, and more secure."
WiseSec, which is based in Haifa, is piloting parts of its service in Asia, Australia and the U.S. and has deployed its mobile payment system in Israel. The company's system, which does not yet have a product name, work with about 90% of the population's mobile phones, Maor said.
Once a consumer "checks in" via a communication between a mobile app and an in-store beacon, his or her movements in a store trigger a mobile action commiserate with the beacon's range.
If a consumer is near a specific section in a store, the beacon sends an offer for a nearby product. If the consumer is near the store's WiseSec-supplied point of sale hardware, the beacon instead triggers the mobile app's payment interface to load. Once the device is out of each situation's range, the app's user interface automatically reverts to a main page.
WiseSec, which also works with government clients and companies such as hotels to enable authentication and keyless mobile entry, charges an initial fee to merchants based on the number of devices ordered. It also charges a licensing fee based on the scale of the deployment. The company is in the process of signing partnerships with issuers to process financial transactions, but did not release client names.
WiseSec sees an opportunity in the battles among mobile payment companies based on device limitationsApple Pay only works on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, for example. Android-based wallets like Google Wallet enable contactless payments only on certain Android devices. However, all of these NFC-based options work at any merchant that can accept NFC contactless payments. Software-based alternatives such as SCVNGR's LevelUp and MCX's CurrentC work on more handsets, but require the buy-in of each merchant on a case by case basis.
WiseSec's product will provide competition for Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other contenders in the race to appeal to the most merchants, said Tim Sloane, vice president of payments at Mercator Advisory Group. "It will also compete with Estimote, iBeacon and other BLE location and offer solutions," he said.
The product will also be challenged by the costs and change management requirements for merchants, Sloane said.
"The primary cost is not hardware-related, it is managing the deployment of new software into the complex point of sale environment and then training staff," Sloane said.