Consumer Issues
MasterCard may go for selfies to authorize payments

A selfie, by definition, is a self-taken photo, normally with a phone

 

If you never felt inclined towards taking selfies, you may have to change your habit now. MasterCard is mulling to introduce a new technology that allows shoppers to authorise a payment with a selfie instead of a password or signature.
 
MasterCard's president of enterprise security solutions Ajay Bhalla was reported as calling it the "next wave of technology that will change the consumer experience for shopping digitally", www.news.com.au reported.
 
A selfie, by definition, is a self-taken photo, normally with a phone.
 
"It's all part of our role in making commerce available anywhere, any time, on any digital device," Bhalla said.
 
The new selfie payment technology will be implemented in MasterCard's Identity Check app.
 
When a customer purchases a product from an online merchant that requires a verified identity, the customer's mobile phone will receive a 'push notification', which will open the app and ask to take a selfie.
 
While the customer poses for the selfie, they will be required to 'blink' to show the facial recognition scan software that they are a real person - in order to prevent criminals from exploiting the system by simply holding up the person's picture.
 
The new selfie technology will also remove the necessity of remembering a password, which can become an issue in a society dependent on multiple passwords.
 
MasterCard is also looking at voice or heartbeat recognition as payment options in the future.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

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Call drop penalty norms fraught with glitches: Analysts

A subscriber could get a maximum of Rs.90 per month. But based on average revenues per subscriber, which is Rs.180-Rs.200 for Idea and Bharti, it can prove quite a knock

 

The Indian telecom watchdog's decision to penalise mobile phone service providers for call drops is fraught with glitches as it ignores issues like technical hurdles in assigning reasons, poor spectrum policy and obstacles in roll-out of towers, analysts maintain.
 
On the face of it, Rs.1 penalty per call drop, limited to a cap of three such occurences per day, may not appear steep. A subscriber could get a maximum of Rs.90 per month. But based on average revenues per subscriber, which is Rs.180-Rs.200 for Idea and Bharti, it can prove quite a knock.
 
"There are also likely to be technical hurdles in implementation. Based on our discussions with telcos, it isn’t easy to determine the cause of call drops," said a Nomura report, adding this can be due to limitations in both the originating network and terminating network.
 
Actions like removing phone batteries or stepping into low coverage areas can also be the causes.
 
"Anyone designing telecom networks will know that ensuring nil call drops is near impossible for commercial operators. There are several external factors beyond the operators' control that could influence call drops," said Credit Suisse, while also pointing out some technical glitches.
 
"The new rules mandate that only originating network is to compensate the originating subscriber. It is not clear how the situation is handled if the call drop occurs due to a problem with the terminating network," it said.
 
A Morgan Stanley report questioned how this can be executed. "The unanswered question is how will the regulator practically implement testing methodology for call drop, as it could imply as much as 50 percent of average revenue per user is at risk for the most unreliable network operators."
 
Speaking about the existing norms, Deutsche Bank Market Research said mobile companies currently need to achieve less than 2 percent call drops and that tests by the regulators own reports show that companies are adhering to this across most of their operating markets.
 
"Hence we are perplexed by the move for penalty on a per-call basis. The regulation is likely to introduce another layer of complexity to the operators’ billing systems. Besides the regulator has not specified any mechanism to audit the claims which are bound to arise in future."
 
In its report, the regulator said it had examined the representations of telecom operators, who maintained that some issues beyond their control, like poor spectrum allocation and difficulties in setting up towers, were also contributing to call drops.
 
But the watchdog said it was for this reason that the the compensatory mechanism has been kept simple, so that the consumers can understand the same easily, and the operators are able to implement it as well. The new norms take effect from January next year.
 
"Our analysis suggests that potential penalties may have an adverse impact on Bharti’s revenues by 4percent and earnings before interest, taxes , depreciation and amortisation by 7 percent. Telcos have the option to challenge new regulations in court," said HSBC Global Research.
 
Adding to it, Deutsche Bank report said: "The regulation is likely to introduce another layer of complexity to the operators’ billing systems. Besides the tekecom regulator has not specified any mechanism to audit the claims which are bound to arise in future."
 
Some analysts felt, this could also impact on the 4G players.
 
"Though coverage issues for 4G entrants don’t get resolved till the time they have access to 850 spectrum band, new regulations on call drops may help 4G players in the launch phase by managing subscriber expectations relatively better," said HSBC Global Research.
 
"Furthermore, capex (capital expenditure) for competition goes up and puts them in a situation to focus more on voice, at a time when data is the growing category," it said adding the regulations may also delay the plans of incumbent telcos to re-farm 900 MHz spectrum band for data.
 
But the representative body, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has not lost hope.
 
"Our first preference is to engage in a dialogue with the regulator to get clarifications over call drop norms, keeping in mind there is time till December 31. But if no proper resolution comes out of the dialogue, we will have to seek legal help to protect our interests."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 
 

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Kerala's plantation sector headed for turmoil

BK Ajith, secretary of the Association of Planters Kerala (APK) - an umbrella organization of planters of tea, rubber, cardamom and coffee - said the plantation sector can go haywire in two months

 

Mounting costs of producing tea, rubber, cardamom and coffee and the low prices the yield fetches is severely affecting the plantation sector in Kerala, an official of the planters' organisation said on Wednesday.
 
B.K. Ajith, secretary of the Association of Planters Kerala (APK) - an umbrella organization of planters of tea, rubber, cardamom and coffee - said the plantation sector can go haywire in two months.
 
The group represents about 60 percent of the organised plantation sector in the state.
 
Kerala today accounts for 82 percent of the country's rubber production, 71 percent of cardamom, six percent of the tea and 21 percent of the coffee.
 
The daily wages of more than three lakh plantation workers, who ended their three week-long strike early this month, were increased recently.
 
But Ajith hinted at other factors which lead to an increase in the production costs.
 
The production costs of cardamom stands at Rs.700 a kg, while the market price of a kilogram of cardamom is Rs.620, he said.
 
"Coffee planters in Kerala are going to be seriously affected as production in Brazil has reached much higher levels. There has been a currency devaluation as well. Thus, all cash crops in Kerala will be seriously affected," added Ajith.
 
APK officials are also peeved that their long standing demands for reducing the plantation, agricultural and land taxes have fallen on deaf ears.
 
While Tamil Nadu levies no taxes in the plantation sector, Kerala charges Rs.700 a hectare as plantation tax. The agriculture income tax is 50 percent of the profits, while in other states it is 28 percent. The land tax here is Rs.500 a hectare, Ajith complained.
 
Similarly, the electricity tariff was increased for the plantation sector last year, he said.
 
"If something drastic does not happen, things will come to a halt very soon," said Ajith.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

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COMMENTS

sundararaman gopalakrishnan

1 year ago

What could be one of the leading states in India,Kerala is one of the least industrialised( has become a state where industrialists are afraid to invest money due to well known labor problems.)



Meenal Mamdani

1 year ago

Kerala has always been unfriendly to business. That is the reason why despite very high literacy and education levels, Keralites migrate to other parts of India or go abroad for jobs.
Plantation workers should not be squeezed to enhance profits.
As the article correctly points out, there are other areas which put a heavy load on production costs.
Instead of focusing on trivialities like liquor ban, the politicians should concentrate on making Kerala attractive for business.

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