Microsoft’s Zero Effort Payments (ZEP)

Zero-effort Payments is a Microsoft Research group including 11 researchers, investigating ways that mobile-payment security for Windows Phone could be enhanced even further.

This group have been researching on mobile payments space and supermarkets. Imagine that you walk into a store, select an item to purchase, and approach the cash register. A wireless-proximity transmitter within your smartphone detects your presence, and a facial-recognition program determines your identity. The transaction is recorded onto video, and, as you stroll out, a receipt is emailed to you, along with a link to a video of the purchase. The chip reader can be embedded in the Microsoft Windows 8 Phone.

“We thought that mobile payments are an instance of a much more ambitious problem: seamless customer identification—the ability of a store to identify its customers in a seamless manner without relying on any specific or deliberate actions on behalf of the customers,” says Stefan Saroiu of Microsoft Research. “We charged ourselves with building an end-to-end system that would provide seamless custom identification using inexpensive, off-the-shelf components.”

The group can make a good move beyond the mobile space for next Microsoft applications and it is a good application for consumer market research and supermarkets.

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