The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 14, 2014 • Issue 14:04:01
The Mobile Buzz:
Windows Phone gets first mobile POS
In the mobile POS realm, only two types of operating systems have existed until now â€“ Apple Inc.'s iOS and Google Inc.'s Android. Milan, Italy-based JUSP S.p.A. stated it changed that by developing the world's first implementation of an mPOS application for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Phone.
JUSP's new solution operates on phones manufactured by Finland-based Nokia, which is the largest supplier of Windows Mobile-enabled handsets. However, Nokia's overall market share lags behind that of other smartphone manufacturers, like Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. But JUSP is betting on the synergy generated between Windows Phone and brick-and-mortar merchants who operate Windows-based desktop POS solutions.
Of merchants that have desktop systems, "the possibility in the shop that you will have a PC is actually quite high," said JUSP Chief Executive Officer Stefano Calderano. "And the probability that this PC will be Windows is probably 95 percent."
So JUSP's all-in-one PIN pad and card reader combo for Windows Phone works in tandem with a payment application it designed for Windows XP- and Windows 8-based PCs. The solution isnâ€™t designed for mobile micro-merchants like pool cleaners and door-to-door salespeople; it is for "mid-market" merchants, such as medical professionals and lawyers, who have physical places of business, but also make sales calls and other on-the-road excursions, according to Calderano.
"So you can use our mobile POS or our POS in the office connected to the PC," he said. "If you had to go to a client, you would take the mobile POS and make the payment and go back into the office and attach it again to the PC. â€¦ We think this will add great flexibility for a certain type of client."
mPOS changing business model
JUSP, which also offers versions of its mPOS solution for iOS and Android, stated it has entered a pilot program for its solution with Paris-based insurance company AXA S.A., and another with the largest insurance provider in Europe, operating out of Italy.
Calderano said the pilots involve agents selling car insurance. They use laptops and tablet computers to make presentations at clients' homes. "So they use the tablet or the PC to sell the policy and then they are using JUSP to make the payment," he said.
Calderano recognizes that mobile payments comprise just one element of the changing business model brought on by mobile technology and instant connectivity. "We are supporting this changing business model, more than just making the payment," he said. "We strongly believe that this is important in many kinds of industries, opportunities to really change the business model, the kind of relationship between companies and their own sales forces."
As in the United States, insurance companies in Europe employ the equivalent of 1099 agents â€“ independent entrepreneurs rather than employees. Mobile technology helps those companies keep their agents working cohesively. "Having such a network that is selling your product is always the most difficult thing to do," Calderano said. "And these new instruments, the tablet plus the payment with mobile POS, really changes the balance of power between the insurance company and their own agents."
JUSP's solution is being used not just to accept payments but manage the relationships between the companies and their sales forces, Calderano added. "We see that the large corporates are proving to be very interesting, especially in cases where there are remote sales forces," he said. "These instruments are really allowing [companies] to do things that were not possible before. That means really changing the rules of the game in many cases."
Expansion in the works
JUSP presented its Windows-based mPOS solution at the 2014 Mobile World Congress held in February 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. Nokia featured JUSP in its booth, one of the only payment companies showcased at the event, which was dominated by other mobile applications, such as games.
Calderano said Windows Phone has a bigger presence in the European market than in the U.S. market. And in Italy, Windows Phone is gaining market share at a healthy clip, Calderano noted. He sees cheaper smartphones, like the Android-based Nokia X highlighted at MWC and launched in Indonesia in late March 2014, as a trend for mPOS adoption in emerging markets.
"We welcome this trend because we at JUSP are actually looking at several emerging markets to expand internationally," Calderano said
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