June 2011


ID World International Congress 2011

Zoosh emerges as a rival to NFC

Zoosh emerges as a rival to NFC

You've heard it a hundred times before, but Near Field Communications (NFC) is going to change the way we pay for things. The technology, which enables the contactless exchange of data, may be touted for greatness but currently only a handful of phones (Google, Samsung's Nexus S, Nokia's Astound) are readily available with NFC technology built in.

NFC World Congress 2011

And now there's a competitor on the scene.

A start-up company called Naratte (Japanese for "learning" and pronounced like karate with an 'n') have designed a product to rival NFC phones, named Zoosh. The US-based firm says that Zoosh can simulate the effects of NFC using any phone with a microphone and loudspeaker - making and receiving payments by harnessing the incredible potential of ultrasonic sound waves.

Instead of relying on NFC chips, Zoosh transmits data between devices using fast, secure, short-range sound that only dogs, dolphins and, erm, frogs could hear. Naratte's technology uses algorithms to convert sound into digital transaction IDs that can be passed securely between devices. Essentially, it works in the same way as NFC - the individual waves their phone next to a Zoosh-friendly in-store reader and a transaction is made within seconds.

CARTES 2011

One of Zoosh's unique strengths is that it can work without a data connection and the set-up time for communication is extremely fast. Also, and perhaps most importantly, it's cheap. No additional hardware is required on the mobile devices and point-of-sale terminals can be fitted for about $30, compared with $850 for NFC. In terms of ease and accessibility, Zoosh seems to be winning the battle. It can be rolled out as a download on most existing mobile handsets.

Naratte announced that Zoosh can be used for obtaining discounts from loyalty cards. The company doesn't intend to turn Zoosh into a consumer brand. Instead, it plans to work alongside others who are already involved in payment applications. The product has been adopted by SparkBase, a processor of white-label loyalty and store-value cards in a mobile wallet application called PayCloud.

But NFC isn't dead in the water. Not by a long chalk. It's got major backing from Google and other financial institutions and it boasts some practical advantages over Zoosh as well. For one, the user doesn't need to activate any software or play any files to use the phone for a transaction.

So can the technologies co-exist?

Time will tell. Zoosh has a challenging year ahead. First, it must convince retailers that it's a better alternative to NFC, yet when NFC arrives, Zoosh will have to reposition itself as a complimentary technology. From a technical standpoint it's impressive, but how effectively will it deliver an aggressive marketing strategy?

Even if NFC is a success, it will take a long time before the technology is built into every phone. That gives Naratte a headstart at promoting Zoosh and its low-cost integration options for merchants.

By Tom Tainton, Smartcard & Identity News





Whitepapers

21/03/2019 Headlines

France Fines Google $57 Million for European Privacy Rule Breach

Google lacked transparency and clarity in the way it informs users about its handling of personal data and failed to properly obtain their consent for personali.....Read More

New Payment Services Laws Passed in Singapore

New payment services laws have been passed by Singapore's parliament in a move that will streamline existing laws while bringing many new fintech providers into.....Read More

Twitter Warns that Private Tweets were Public for Years

Private tweets sent by users of Twitter's Android app could have been exposed publicly for years.

Twitter said it had discovered a security flaw which me.....Read More

Exchange Loses Big over Airdrop Miscue

Computer glitches are never fun, but when they result in the loss of money, they can be completely debilitating. Coinnest, a cryptocurrency exchange out of Sout.....Read More

Name and Shame Firms with Poor Cyber Security, Government Told

The government should name and shame companies whose cyber security measures fail to protect consumers' data and firms should implement Active Cyber Defence, an.....Read More

Sirin Labs Opens First Blockchain Smartphone Store in London

Sirin Labs has opened the first blockchain smartphone store located in London. The intention is to attract crypto enthusiasts passionate for blockchain and dece.....Read More


Video Interviews

Tim Jones talks on the wealth of networks

Christophe Dolique of Gemplus talks about ·SIM

Dominique Brule of Philips Semiconductors talks about Near Field Communication