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

17/01/2019 Headlines

Mining Bitcoin Takes More Energy than Extracting Gold or Platinum

Digital currencies, as in so-called cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, may represent the future of our monetary system, but so far, they've been terrib.....Read More

$1M in Crypto Disappears after SIM Swapping by US Hacker

California authorities have indicted New York citizen on 21 felony charges of cryptocurrency hacks, including the theft of $1 million in virtual coins. The defe.....Read More

Biometric Tech Used by Banks Leads to Rise in Money Mules

The use by banks of biometrics (fingerprint identification) to verify account holders has brought greater security to minimise identity theft and impersonation,.....Read More

Cyber Attacks on Major Banks have DOUBLED in a Year Due to Mistakes by 'Overconfident' Bankers

Technology disasters at banks and finance firms have more than doubled amid an unprecedented wave of cybercrime, the City watchdog has warned.

Overconfid.....Read More

Eight Arrested Following Takedown of Multi-Million Dollar Online Ad Fraud

A giant ad-fraud campaign that resulted in losses of tens of millions of dollars to companies has been taken down. According to a report by Google and cybersecu.....Read More

Sirin to Ship its First Blockchain-enabled Smartphone

Swiss-based Sirin Labs plans to ship its first blockchain-enabled smartphone on Thursday; the device will give users a secure method to access cryptocurrency ex.....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