We’re used to reading about NFC, QR codes and traditional card readers when it comes to POS technology, but scanning startup Mobeam is taking a very different approach to the future of payments acceptance. PYMNTS.com spoke with Chris Sellers, Mobeam’s CEO, to learn about how Mobeam works, why he’s not threatened by NFC, and some major news his company has for us on the horizon.
At MIT’s “What Technology Will Dominate Retail?” conference in late September, PYMNTS.com heard from a variety of companies with some innovative ideas about the constantly-shifting payments tech world.
One such company, Mobeam, stood out to us as particularly unique in its approach and philosophy. As such, we caught up with Chris Sellers, Mobeam’s chief executive officer, to learn exactly how Mobeam operates and why it separates itself from others in the industry.
“What Mobeam does, as the name hopefully implies, is we enable mobile devices – think smartphones, tablets, etc – to beam content directly from those devices into existing red laser POS devices,” Sellers states. “Primarily, payments on mobile devices has been themed to require a major change to retail infrastructure, and for those reasons, we’ve kind of allowed those discussions to go on while we’re in the background, focused on payments from a pretty different point of view.”
According to Sellers, Mobeam’s strength is in its ability to function within existing POS systems. Mobeam can use light to transmit a barcode directly into the type of 1D scanner that, as he puts it, “exists in 165 million instances around the world today.” Mobeam can also scan 2B images off of a screen, and can simultaneously work with NFC transmissions. Essentially, Sellers believes there’s no significant digital payments method with which Mobeam cannot work.
Sellers said that Mobeam began working with coupons, tickets and loyalty coupons – all of which he deems as “digital currency” – but that companies frustrated by the slow rate of adoption for NFC and 2D technologies have asked Mobeam to tackle payments as well.
So how does Sellers view the emerging NFC and 2D scanning markets? According to the Mobeam CEO, such emerging technologies pose no immediate threat to Mobeam. In fact, Sellers views Mobeam’s ability to work alongside emerging payments methods as a positive.
“We accept the fact that, in time, NFC will become a much more dominant technology at retail and in devices, and we may see more competition,” Sellers admits. “But frankly, we see that as quite a long ways away, and in our experience … we understand that there will never be a 100 percent homogenous retail environment.
Retailers have to depend on the likes of us to make a universally-ccapable technology to enable handsets and tablets to work no matter what the receiver environment is going to be. And that’s essentially our commitment.”
To hear more Sellers on the future of mobile payments, POS integration and an exciting Mobeam announcement that should be released in the coming weeks, listen to the full podcast below.
Chris applies his 20+ years of experience leading business innovation across the consumer retail industry to drive mobeam’s corporate strategy and efforts to make mobile handsets relevant and useful at the point of sale for both retailers and consumers. Chris works closely with leading retailers to push their mobile digital capabilities to the next level across their global infrastructures. He has led mobeam through a successful Series A venture round of funding with support from strategic investors including yet2Ventures, Samsung Ventures and Mitsui, together with other independent investors.
Previously, as CEO of Agentrics, Chris led the world’s leading retailers in business innovation; global sourcing/procurement; logistics; supply chain; and product lifecycle management and development. Prior to Agentrics, Chris held leadership positions at EDS, Syncra and Accenture, and served as CEO for Information Resources, Inc (IRIc) United Kingdom.
Frequently published in international trade and industry media outlets as an expert resource on retail technology, Chris is an undisputed influencer in the retail industry, and was voted by his peers and named by Supermarket News to the Power 50 Most influential executives in the Retail Industry, two years running.