News & Insights


ATM surrenders authentication job to mobile?

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India is enjoying the benefits of e-commerce in a big way. Almost any item can be ordered through established online retailers. However, 45%  of these transactions are said to be COD – Cash on Delivery. This indicates that shoppers are still extremely wary of putting their credit or debit card information online. They order on the Net, but pay physically to the delivery boy who comes home to hand over the item.

So, cash is still king and therefore ATMs will continue to be used for such purposes. Moreover,  students and housewives do not generally have access to credit cards and prefer cash.

Here is another scenario. A father is busy at work but his son wants to go for a movie with his friends. The father has two options:

1) Transfer money to son’s account using NEFT/IMPS
2) Withdraw money at an ATM and hand over cash to his son

However, there is a new approach possible. The father can initiate an ATM transaction through the mobile, but his son goes to the ATM and picks up the cash. In other words, the father is authorising the bank to withdraw a certain sum of money and hand it over to his son to collect it at the ATM. This unbundling of ATM transaction has a very big advantage. The consumer of the service is different from the person who pays for the service. Father is authenticating the transaction, but son is physically picking up the cash. The advantage here is that father need not physically go to the ATM himself. He is authorising a trusted person to go to the ATM on his behalf and collect the money.

When this service becomes mainstream, we can expect drivers of chauffer-driven cars going into ATMs and withdrawing cash, while the car owner is initiating the transaction while in office or on travel.

Similarly, if a plumber,  electrician or any utility service provider has to be paid and the housewife does not have enough cash, there is no need to panic – one can initiate a transaction to move money into a “cash account” for withdrawal at an ATM.

So, has the ATM given up the job of authentication to the mobile? No, not yet. We have made ATM transaction a 2-step process:

Step 1: Move from MyAccount to CashAccount (authenticated on mobile)
Step 2: Move from CashAccount to Cash (authenticated on ATM)

What happens if money is moved to CashAccount but the plumber or electrician does not collect the money from the ATM? The money will roll-back to the source account from where it was funded. However, the bank may levy a charge for the transaction to be reversed.

Some banks are giving a name “card less cash withdrawal”, but this name does not convey the real value-proposition. The big advantage is that the owner of the account can do authentication remotely, while cash-dispensing still happens at the ATM, where the recipient of the money can come and collect.

Another big advantage is that the recipient need not be having a bank account at all. He has been authorised to collect cash based on a 4 digit One-Time-Password or PIN. This opens up new opportunities for banks to service their customers.

Any modern mobile banking platform should support the core feature ‘card-less cash withdrawal’. However, each bank can innovate and position the service differently.

Mr. Chandrashekar Rao has over two decades of experience in Telecom, Software and IT Product Development. He is an M. Tech in Communication Engineering from IIT, Mumbai and is a specialist in Mobile Banking product development & delivery.


New round of funding to expand services and products

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We, at Robosoft Technologies are pleased to announce a Series B funding from Ascent Capital, with participation from the existing investor, Kalaari Capital. ‘The new round of funding will be used to bolster all our current offerings across service segments’, says Rohith Bhat, CEO & MD of Robosoft Technologies. ‘It will also help us invest in products, user acquisition and double down on our offerings’, he goes on to add. 99Games and Global Delight, which were hitherto subsidiaries, will now be hived off as separate companies with these new investments.

We plan to build near-shore capability in the US, Europe and Middle East with these investments. ‘We want to scale up our services to cater to the growing, complex mobile solutions needs of our global clients. While the company has been traditionally strong in Consumer Mobility and Gaming, we intend to strengthen our Enterprise Mobility practice too’, Rohith adds.

99Games is being hived off as a separate entity, following the new round of investments. 99Games has a two-pronged strategy: building games through licensed IPs (largely for the Indian market) and creating own IPs for a global audience. The immediate focus would be around driving user-acquisition focused marketing campaigns for Star Chef, the latest hit game from 99Games. Star Chef is growing over 30% month-on-month in terms of monthly active users as well as monetization. The game, launched in August 2014 is getting a great response worldwide. Star Chef was featured in the ‘Best of 2014’ list by Apple.

Global Delight, which will also be a separate entity following the new investments, focuses on the iOS and Apple platforms in the audio, video and image domains. It has several global hits to its credit including Camera Plus (over 27mn downloads and part of Apple’s Best of 2014), Game Your Video (winner of Best of Show at Macworld in 2012) and Boom (a system-wide audio enhancer for Mac) to name a few. The new round of investments will go behind expanding to the Android platform, user acquisition and taking our current crop of products to the next level in innovation’, says Rohith.

The news of the funding was covered by leading publications including the Economic Times, Business Line, YourStory among others.


Apple Watch: An App Developer’s Perspective

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NextBigWhat asked our Pradeep Kumar, AVP – Delivery (Consumer Mobility) to share his thoughts regarding the Apple Watch from a developer’s perspective and asked questions on these broad topics: (a) Will people see value in the Apple Watch? (b) Why did Apple retain the hardware and functionality across all the variants? (c) Will we see apps specifically built for high-end variants of the Apple Watch?. Pradeep expanded on these and related topics in an article. Excerpts:

Value For Money Is Not About A Cheap Price Tag

‘Value for money’ is a term that is common in marketing circles and is usually used to connote a product, which is priced inexpensively, but with some great many features. In my view, it is incorrect to assume that a premium-priced product is ‘poor value’ because of its price tag and vice versa. It all depends on the market segment and target audience a brand is catering to. I am sure a Mercedes Benz owner sees great value for the price he/she has paid for the car. Also every product category has tiers and there is a market for every kind of offering. Take hotels for example – there are luxury hotels, mid-priced hotels, business hotels, lodges and so on – each catering to a different need.

Apple has always focused on the premium end of any product category they have entered into and cater to an audience who do not mind paying extra for a product or service. What they get in return is a product of great quality, design and a premium experience across touch points. I think Apple Watch is consistent with that product philosophy. Apple Watch is another step to lock in customers to the Apple experience across devices – as it works only with the latest generation iPhones.

Apple Watch

Image source: Apple

As app developers we are conscious of the fact that any app experience has to match the sleekness of the Apple brand and has to offer a delightful customer experience. A shoddily designed app (and I don’t mean just the looks) runs contra to the premium, smooth experience of the Apple brand. That’s what we expect of premium brand’s right – everything from the website to packaging to the customer service call has to be of ‘one voice’.

Read the full article here.

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