Monday, January 7, 2013

At IIT-Bombay, tech takes the cash out of shopping

The technology being used is near field communication, where devices establish radio communication with each other by touch or bringing them into close proximity.
Imagine a world where you don’t have to worry about running short of cash every time you pick up your breakfast cereal from the neighbourhood grocery or fret about change while getting a cup of coffee!
A cashless world is no longer a theory at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B). Thanks to a novel initiative, shopping here is all about a tap on their mobile phones.
The “virtual wallet” is a pilot project launched by ItzCash, Rupay and Canara Bank. “A person just has to use a ‘tag’ on any personal belonging like a mobile phone or an ID card and make payments at shops in the campus through it,” said Vaibhav S. Joshi, Head, Government Business, ItzCash.
About 2,000 students are using this cashless card initiative since its launch in September last year. “This is the first time that we have introduced the system in an educational institution. We aim to extend it to 4,000 students in the next few months,” Joshi added.
ItzCash plans to expand the cashless card system to other IITs and corporate campuses soon.
There are three active reloading spots and 35 stores enabled with this technology at the IIT-B campus. Through this system, students can, among other things, make day-to-day purchases, such as books and stationeries, and settle canteen bills.

The tech in use

The technology used is near field communication (NFC), where devices establish radio communication with each other by touch or bringing them into close proximity.
Countries such as Germany, Austria, Finland, New Zealand and Italy have tested NFC in ticketing systems for public transport, while China has implemented it in bus services across the country. Still at a nascent stage in India, NFC technology is now being explored as a new medium of transaction, which may gradually eliminate the usage of smaller currencies.
It costs the Government nearly a rupee to print a currency note of Rs 10 denomination and Rs 1.79 to make a Rs 100 note, according to information provided by the Reserve Bank of India.

Challenges

The pilot project at IIT-B campus has had some teething issues in setting up a smooth transaction process. “Enabling device and application readiness and handholding merchants to move to this new automated system were some of the initial challenges that we faced,” Joshi said.

Corp Bank launches Aadhar linked card

Corporation Bank launched a new product – Corp RuPay Aadhar Card on Friday. This product is primarily aimed at providing easy and hassle free banking services to the financially excluded and underprivileged sections of the society who have an Aadhar number.

The card can be used at the conventional ATMs, at micro ATMs or the hand held machines used by Business Correspondents and at Point of Sale (PoS) terminals at Merchant Establishments.

The card was launched at o‘Vivek Darshan’ – a musical monologue on Swami Vivekananda’s life, philosophy and thoughts in commemoration of his 150th birth anniversary, at Dr T M A Pai International Convention Centre in Mangalore on Friday.

The musical monologue was performed by Shekhar Sen – a renowned singer, music composer and actor.

Inaugurating the programme, Corporation Bank Chairman and Managing Director Ajai Kumar said, “Swami Vivekananda represents a hope for a resurgent India. Indian Renaissance can truly be said to have begun with him.

'Vivek Darshan’, a tribute to Swami Vivekananda to commemorate his 150th birth year, is a unique ode to this great son of the nation in the form of musical monologue on his, life, philosophy and thoughts.
Corporation Bank intends to create awareness about Swami Vivekananda with the objective of motivating the youth to be confident and action-oriented,” he said.

Kumar also released a booklet in Hindi and English on the philosophy and teachings of Swami Vivekananda on the occasion.

The Bank also released financial support to Shri Ramakrishna Ashram (Mysore) Hope Trust (Kannur), Lady Goshan Hospital (Mangalore) and Navchetan Trust (Mangalore). Executive Director Amar Lal Daultani was present.