I spent the last 4 days in Barcelona, Spain attending the largest mobile technology trade show in the world called Mobile World Congress. I was on the hunt to find some interesting companies to write about but in my typical Phone.com fashion it was the small businesses that really caught my eye. One in particular called MoBeam has the potential to change the way we shop and pay for items.
MoBeam utilizes the infrared beam used as a proximity sensor in most handsets to beam out information. This is a preexisting technology built into all touchscreen phones. Usually the IR is used to tell the phone when it’s pressed against your head so it can turn off the screen. In this case by broadcasting data from this port it can be read by scanners. The exciting thing is, it’s not just any scanners. It’s all scanners that you find in stores at point of sale machines. So all the cash registers at the grocery store, the handheld scanners at big box stores and all the other scanners around the world used for sales should be able to now read the information that is displayed on your phone screen. Starbucks had to distribute special scanners to all their locations in every country that you could get their smartphone app because the traditional scanners they had couldn’t read the app on the phone screen. This cost Starbucks millions and millions of dollars, they were a pioneer doing this but now it won’t be necessary to purchase and install new POS solutions.
This is very important to small businesses, imagine being the first grocery store or electronics retailer in your city that tells their customers to come in and give this a try. The novelty effect could drive business in your doors. Grocery stores wouldn’t need customers to bring in coupons any longer, electronics stores could rely on gift cards to be in customers phones so they’re more likely to shop versus forgetting them at home. Probably most importatnly though is that now for a SMB, they won’t have to spend additional money to keep up with current technologies.
Personally my wife loves this idea, she carries a big green wallet I got her for her gift cards and coupons and this would relieve her of lugging that around in he purse all the time. And what woman wouldn’t want to lighten her purse. I think this has huge potential and hope they can get the support they need for the software to be preloaded on new phones. Good luck MoBeam, make our lives easier.