Start-up pushes visual equivalent of NFC - Mobile World Live

Start-up pushes visual equivalent of NFC

09 NOV 2012

A UK start-up, which describes its technology as “the visual equivalent of NFC”, is in talks with mobile operators, retailers, e-tailers and banks, its CEO has told Mobile Money Live.  

Ensygnia offers visual recognition and scanning technology which speeds up on-line purchases because users do not need to enter their user name and password before completing a transaction. Instead the user scans the screen of the PC with their smartphone.

The company is in talks with companies from a number of different sectors in the UK and elsewhere who it hopes will license its technology, says Richard Harris, the company's CEO.

Users set up user name and password when they sign up for a service supporting Ensygnia's technology, meaning websites which integrate the company's technology can let users just scan a QR code to complete a transaction.

Harris is eager to play up the versatility of Ensygnia’s technology which is suitable to work with QR codes on websites but can also work with other alternatives. It can also interact with other screens apart from PCs, for instance it will work in physical retail outlets, says Harris who agrees with the widely held view that offline and online commerce is rapidly converging: “We are about working with any screen in any place,” he tells Mobile Money Live.

In addition, Harris says the technology can work with enterprise applications, as well as for consumer transactions. The country is already working with Exois, a US provider of a PCI (payment card industry) compliant SaaS solution.

Harris is critical of NFC technology. As others have done, he points to a major obstacle of installing new hardware in retail outlets and equipping users with NFC handsets: “It has huge problems because it needs new kit”.

However he will need to convince mobile operators to invest in his company’s technology, in addition to their existing commitments to NFC. 

Ensygnia does have rivals too. They include a US competitor called OneID which in April raised US$7 million in a funding round led by Khosla Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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