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CEO of Zerone Microsystems Pvt Ltd shares his views on the Evolution of Payments Acceptance Infrastructure in a virtual conference on digital money by the Payments Council of India.
Sameer Sachdeva May 24, 2019 17:12:09 IST
The Central government appears to have taken a leaf out of the Andhra Pradesh government’s book on the e-pragiti project and is planning to implement the India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA), a concept that promises a single window digitisation solution for its citizens.
The National e-Governance Division, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), has come up with a request for empanelment for organisations that are consulting for Digital India Programme, including India Enterprise Architecture, and will come into force after a new government comes to power at the Centre.
IndEA in common man’s language
IndEA seeks to simplify an aam aadmi’s life. An individual can book a ticket on the IRCTC website, check the status of voter’s card on the Election Commission of India website, register a company on the MCA21 portal, book an appointment for passport on the Passport Seva website, check the status of Aadhaar card on the UIDAI portal etc. Clearly, the offline queues will shift to online.
With IndEA there will be one personalised account for each individual and he or she can avail all government services from that personalised account. You would no longer have to visit separate sites and have separate logins on them to access government services. And, various e-queues will become a passé after the country adopts IndEA.
Andhra Pradesh govt’s e-Pragati project
Andhra Pradesh’s e-pragati project treats the state as an enterprise-of-enterprises. It is in the process of linking as many as 33 departments and 315 government agencies and aims to provide around 745 e-services to the people.
J Satyanaryana, chairperson, UIDAI, and also the IT advisor to the Andhra Pradesh government says, “We have created a core e-platform. Currently, applications are being developed for education youth services and sports departments. App store and the portal will be up and running soon.”
Need for IndEA
The need for nationwide enterprise architecture is felt because e-governance projects are standalone initiatives and rarely holistic. They don’t conform to standards as defined by the government but are an automated result of the existing processes. Even if new systems are built the legacy systems continue, leading to a mismatch in delivery of services. Besides, many existing systems are vendor-driven and they seldom interact with others.
IndEA provides a generic framework, comprising a set of architecture reference models, which can be converted into an integrated architecture, including ministries, states, government agencies etc. IndEA will be based on a federal architecture that will accommodate both greenfield (new) and brownfield (existing/legacy) e-governance initiatives. The framework consists of eight reference models such as Business, Application, Data, Technology, Performance, Security, Integration and Architecture Governance.
Dr Lovneesh Chanana, vice-president, Digital Government (Asia Pacific and Japan), SAP, says, “So far, the siloes for development and deployment have been the hallmark of our e-governance programme management, but IndEA can help achieve a seamless experience for a citizen.”
Paradigm of ONE Government
IndEA answers all of Dr Chanana questions as it is about a single e-entity for a citizen. IndEA’s vision is “to establish best-in-class architectural governance, processes and practices with optimal utilisation of ICT infrastructure and applications to offer ONE Government experience to the citizens and businesses”.
Satyanarayana, who is also the chairman of the government committee on Enterprise Architecture, explains the concept of one government, “Most of the services will be available on mobile (m-services) that are on the go. There will be a single app store or portal for all citizen services. Personalisation will also become possible. Certain concepts will eliminate the need for unnecessary documentation. IndEA’s interoperability will also vastly reduce the unproductive work for both the government and the people.”
Replication of projects
However, question mark lingers over the implementation of e-governance initiatives. Now, each state and government department are developing their own applications, leading to a lot of duplication of work. But, adoption of IndEA could lead to the evolution of centralised applications.
“The ease of replication will also address the requirement of horizontal transfer to avoid reinventing the wheel every time,” says Dr Chanana. The same sentiment is echoed by Satyanaryana.
Advantage of IndEA
Deepak Maheshwari, director, government affairs, Symantec, (India, ASEAN & China), puts IndEA in the economic context. “The government can work as a single enterprise, enhancing its technical and economic efficiencies. IndEA can significantly bridge gaps in institutional capacities besides acting as a common benchmark.”
Similar thoughts are echoed by Jaijit Bhattacharya, CEO & founder at Zerone Microsystems, “IndEA is a much-needed Government Enterprise Architecture, which will not only reduce the cost of building systems but will also ensure that they are better integrated and also increase the longevity of e-governance software assets.”
Dr Chanana agrees with Bhattacharya. “A unified government agenda is the need of the hour as it would improve the citizen’s participation and lay the foundation for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence. “
IndEA: Architecture of Architectures
Dr Pallab Saha, chief architect, The Open Group & President, Association of Enterprise Architects (India), weighs in on the e-concept. “The enterprise architecture’s role is pivotal to transformation as IndEA aims to become the core of Digital India Version 2.0.”
IndEA: An evolving process
The industry harbours a contrarian view of IndEA and wants it to evolve over a period of time. Maheshwari says, “Change must be constant as far as policies, technologies and user behaviour are concerned.”
The industry appears divided over whether the Enterprise Architecture should be made mandatory.
Bhattacharya says, “A wider adoption of IndEA remains its biggest challenge as similar initiatives in the past such as Open Standards initiative of MeitY have been thwarted. We may get desired benefits if IndEA is mandated at all levels of government.”
But, Maheshwari disagrees. He says, “It may not be pragmatic to impose the framework mandatorily across the board as systems evolve differently. For instance. If credible data is available, it would catch like a wildfire as people would appreciate its inherent value.”
The adoption of Enterprise Architecture has been explored by many countries, but it may take a decade to evolve.
So far, international success stories or benchmarks are few and far between. But, India is marching along with other developed nations in implementing the Enterprise Architecture to deliver public good.
Read more at: https://www.firstpost.com/india/india-enterprise-architecture-what-is-it-and-should-it-be-made-mandatory-for-all-e-governance-projects-6694521.html
Pranjal Sharma, 11th Dec 2019
Gesture control has a magical quality about it. Much like royalty, things happen with a wave of your hand. In the feudal world, people scurried when a lord waved his hand as an order. In the world of technology, a wave of hand triggers bits of information zipping to complete a task. Popular use of such gesture-based activity has centred mostly around mobile phones, credit cards and hotel keys.
Phones can share information and even payment using near field communications (NFC) technology. Same with credit cards too. Hotel keys waved at a door is easier than putting the card in a slot. A new wave of technology is now ready to change the mobile based payment system once again. SoftPOS or software that replaces a point of sale (PoS) machine is graining traction across the world.
A typical PoS machine has chip-based connectivity that enables payments for consumers and merchants. The next wave has been led by SoftPos which is embedded in phones which enables them to connect and communicate with each other. For this the phones need to use NFC technology. Global communications and payment giants are now coming together to promote SoftPos since it reduces the need for physical machines for most transactions. There are two advantages that SoftPos has. A retailer doesn’t have to invest in a physical machine. Secondly, the retailer will not have to pay heavy fees to a third party POS provider.
A SoftPos service provider is expected to charge much less for similar service. A retailer can download the SoftPos on its own phone or tablet. Visa, Fiserv and Samsung have come together to promote SoftPos globally. It can convert smartphones and tablets into a contact payment terminal. SoftPos can be done using QR Codes, sound/ultrasound and NFC. In India, startup Zup.cash is taking SoftPos to a wide audience by eliminating the need for NFC.
“Our proprietary software doesn’t require NFC enabled phone for contactless payments,” says Founder Jaijit Bhattacharya. “Just 2 per cent of mobile phones are NFC enabled. So consumers and merchants can make contactless payments with any smartphone using our app.” The penetration of PoS machines is still very low in India. Less than 4 million of the 32 million registered merchants have a POS machine. Another 100 million merchants are not registered. Contactless phone-based payment system can bring millions of merchants into a formal system. “We have created a technology that allows even the cheapest of phones to be able to have contactless transfer of data without NFC,” says Bhattacharya. SoftPos like Zup also obviates the need for exchanging a phone number while making transactions.
The company is targeting 500,000 merchants over the next 18 months. Global contactless market is expected to rise from $8.75 billion in 2017 to $27.23 billion by 2023 according to Allied Market Research. SoftPos is emerging as an important driver of financial inclusion and digital payment. The government is encouraging the use of digital transaction but the high cost and fees of POS machines have been holding back rapid growth.
As SoftPos increases and its adoption picks up, merchants can ditch POS machines. The next 100 million merchants will have the options of using digital transaction using secure SoftPos options. The entry of companies like Samsung and Visa will further accelerate the use of SoftPos and financial inclusion.
15 May, 2019
Early-stage investment firm Anthill Ventures has shortlisted 15 startups for its six-month market access programme A-Scale, which is focused on the Asian markets.
According to a statement from Anthill Ventures, a cohort of 15 startups from Singapore, India, Israel and the US with cutting-edge solutions for health-tech, media-tech and urban-tech have been selected from a poll over 300 startup applications.
Anthill Ventures had launched A-Scale in March 2019.
Out of the selected 15, four startups are from India.
The programme has been supported by Enterprise Singapore, a government agency aimed at developing organisations. Anthill Ventures is part of the agency’s ‘Startup SG Accelerator’ initiative providing mentorship and resources to support the growth of startups based out of Singapore.
The programme aims at speed-scaling 18 startups every year by providing them with targeted mentorship on business model refinement and go-to-market strategies.
Through A-Scale, the shortlisted startups will gain access to over 100 global subject matter experts, over 50 corporate partners and an opportunity to implement their smart products and solutions in the public sector via government organisations.
The programme will help each of the selected startups to raise funding of up to $1 million and an additional syndicated $20 million smart capital via Anthill’s co-investor network. Below are the four Indian startups shortlisted for the programme:
QuaQua: This media-tech startup was founded in 2016 by Sandesh Reddy and Purav Shah. The Hyderabad-based company is a travel platform that integrates 360-degree virtual reality content for the global travel and tourism industry.
Grene Robotics: This Hyderabad-based startup was launched in 2009 by Kiran Penumacha. The company has built an internet-of-everything (IOE) platform that helps in bringing people, process and data of an organisation onto a single unified platform such that they can all communicate with each other seamlessly.
Rooter: This New Delhi-based company was founded by Piyush Kumar and Akshat Goel. The startup is a sports technology platform that manages live sports and engages fans during live matches.
Zerone Microsystems: The New Delhi-based company has developed a virtual point-of-sale machine for smartphones based on ZPI, its patented proximity payment technology. Users can make payments via ZPI by swiping a smartphone against another.