MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 02/22/13 -- 2ergo Group plc, the mobile solutions company, today announced the commercial availability of its podifi mobile loyalty & payments solution. podifi allows any retailer to immediately implement contactless mobile coupon redemption, loyalty, payments and store check-in. podifi technology is uniquely compatible with any Wi-Fi enabled handset and existing electronic point of sale (EPoS) terminals.
podifi is aimed at addressing the growing demand for mobile transaction solutions, a market industry analyst Gartner have estimated to be worth $617b worldwide by 2016, with 448m users. Juniper Research estimate that 10 billion coupons alone will be redeemed on mobile and tablet devices this year, up by more than 50% on the 2012 figure.
Developed by the team behind the Orange Wednesdays(i) mobile technology platform, podifi is based around a small hardware device called a pod, which can easily plug into any standard merchant cash till without needing any POS upgrade. Consumers use a simple smartphone App to transact, and Merchants and Brands access a self-service cloud-based management platform, to create, launch and manage sophisticated mobile loyalty and payment programs. The resulting services are available to any consumer with a Wi-Fi equipped handset rather than being restricted to the few handsets that currently incorporate NFC (near field communication) chips. The podifi platform was designed to be supplemented with NFC communications when that technology reaches maturity.
Podifi is 'plug and play' and requires no significant upfront investment in EPoS integration or related service software. The platform has been endorsed by major EPoS manufacturers and distributors including Casio Electronics, YCR (Sam4S and Samsung EPOS), ICR Touch, Geller, Uniwell and Sharp Electronics and has already been deployed in commercial trials with O2 and Salford University.
Commenting on the announcement Ariya Priyasantha, 2ergo Product and Innovations Director, said: "Mobile commerce is booming around the world but while the mobile industry focusses on the development of new hardware and standards for mobile transactions, it has left merchants wondering when the promise will become reality. podifi was conceived and developed to get over that problem. It uses existing, mature technologies which are coupled in an innovative platform that can be deployed immediately and is equipped for future developments. It allows merchants to get on with the business of engaging with their target market and gathering new intelligence."
To implement podifi merchants simply connect pods to a port on their EPoS terminals. A cloud-based management interface then provides them with the ability to provide offers, credits or vouchers to users on an individual or collective basis which then appear within the consumer's mobile application. For users, voucher, credit or offer redemption is simply a matter of tapping the pod and the transaction is registered on the handset and the management interface. Merchants then have customer, pricing, location and time specific data to tailor the offers they provide and which can optionally be imported into their core business intelligence systems.
"Wi-Fi is mature, reliable, cost effective and a technology consumers and merchants implicitly understand," added Priyasantha. "Some lateral thinking was required to develop the platform and 'close the loop' with real time reporting and analysis but it was an obvious choice for podifi and the same decision process we followed when developing the Orange Wednesdays platform. WAP was the latest technology at the time but we chose to use SMS because of the reliability and consumer acceptance. Many years and millions of transactions later it's still going strong - we expect the same with podifi."
About 2ergo Group plc
2ergo are the owner and international provider of innovative, proprietary contactless mobile technology podifi which delivers coupons and vouchers, loyalty, proximity and payment solutions to organisations of all sizes in order to assist the development and execution of their mobile strategy.
podifi demonstrations at Mobile World Congress
Demonstrations of podifi in action will be available by appointment during Mobile World Congress, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, 25-28th February 2013.
(i) Orange Wednesdays offers Orange mobile and internet subscribers 2 for 1 cinema tickets at participating cinemas via SMS and similar arrangements at Pizza Express restaurants. The loyalty scheme was launched in 2004 and has been universally recognised as one of the country's most successful customer engagement and retention tools.
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