Society management

“The rise of the cashless society” – How will this impact the protection of electronic devices?

The future of money is increasingly called into question as more and more people start to give up cash. The current global health emergency has certainly played its part in the move towards the eradication of cash, with many governments and retailers recommending contactless payments to limit the spread of Covid-19. This has resulted in a 35% drop in the number of payments using physical coins and banknotes in the UK, meaning only one in six payments are now made with good old cash.

The popularity and convenience of credit and debit cards have slowly replaced banknotes over the years, with cellphones and smartwatches further accelerating the path to a cashless society. Since its inception, cellphones have made leaps and bounds, moving from a simple source of entertainment to an all-in-one home and / or office inseparable in our pockets. Ditto for watches because they serve a wide range of purposes, especially as a means of payment.

The evolution of smartphones and smartwatches to a preferred payment method for many Millennials and Gen Z shows that society as a whole is increasingly relying on electronic devices to support us in everything we do. As the world becomes more and more connected, our use of and dependence on electronics will only increase. This inevitable truth means consumers will expect devices to work whenever they want to make a transaction.

For businesses, the move towards a cashless society and the trend of always-connected technology means pressures to ensure that they and their customers can always rely on point-of-sale (POS) and point-of-sale terminals. mobile sales (mPOS) to make their purchases. As the mPOS market is expected to grow at a CAPR of 21.9% from 2021 to 2030, more and more businesses will rely on terminals not only to transfer funds, but also to manage inventory and track transactions. sales. Thus, there is a growing need to ensure that these integrated devices are always functioning to ensure business continuity and seamless customer experiences.

Exposing vulnerabilities

Integrated POS and mPOS terminals provide many benefits for businesses, including portability, flexibility and the ability to process payments anywhere there is mobile data. However, with all of these benefits come increased vulnerability to wear and tear and environmental damage. During the pandemic, for example, many companies had to increase their cleaning regimes and used antibacterial wipes and sprays on devices more often to protect employees and customers from the virus. Unfortunately, this exposes the systems to additional humidity conditions, risking extensive corrosion damage and the life cycles of the devices abruptly shortened.

It is not just the cleaning products that can accelerate the failure of the POS device. It is also the ubiquitous humidity in hot and rainy countries and the increased consumer demand for convenient means of payment outdoors that present a significant risk of liquid ingress and damage. Certainly, now, as the Christmas markets open up and more security-conscious consumers eagerly wait to purchase their gifts, mobile point-of-sale systems are truly undergoing reliability and durability tests. Their failure is simply not an option during this key buying season and at any other time of the year as it could result in lost customers and lost profits for many businesses.

Increased costs and lost money

A failed POS terminal can also result in multiple times costs for the manufacturer or service provider. Since point of sale systems are often sold as a full service where vendors take a small portion of all transactions, they start to lose revenue as soon as a device goes down. Some suppliers may sell their devices and services with the guarantee that defective terminals will be replaced or repaired. This comes at an obvious cost, but there are also administrative and handling costs for returning defective devices.

Keep in mind that unreliable hardware is also likely to cause more frustration, which can lead companies to turn to service providers they deem more reliable and reliable. This change can cost the original vendor a substantial loss of revenue and reputation, while the business experiences reduced operational efficiency due to the fact that replacing and configuring new systems takes time, effort and expense. ‘silver. As mobile payments gain in popularity, it is vitally important for manufacturers to provide better protection for POS and mPOS systems against damage from liquids and other external environmental factors. In addition, the increased protection offered by plasma nanocoatings extends the product life cycle, enables rework, reuse and recyclability to further stimulate the circular economy and minimize electronic waste. The Sustainability and Environment divisions can use this approach to achieve their sustainability goals by taking a step in the right direction.

Guaranteeing “always-on” systems thanks to nanotechnology

There are several liquid protection solutions available to manufacturers, including mechanical seals and compliant coatings, but both have significant drawbacks with regards to liquid ingress and corrosion damage. Today’s advanced nanotechnologies are paving the way for manufacturers and point-of-sale providers to extend the life of their products without adding bulk or weight to terminals, which could potentially risk degrading during daily use. Water-repellent plasma nanocoatings bond to the external and internal surfaces of the POS device at the molecular level, ensuring that no water can enter the terminal or react with critical internal electronic components. This includes all disinfectant sprays and isopropanol used to clean devices to protect consumers and employees during this pandemic and beyond. In addition, the nanocoatings cannot be compromised in the event of impact or damage to the outer body of the terminal, further protecting the device and the business.

Reliable hardware for the new era of payments

As the company continues to prioritize convenience, speed and security in cashless transactions on the go, more businesses need their point-of-sale systems to be highly reliable and “always on” to meet the demands of the business. increased consumer demand. Therefore, it is the responsibility of manufacturers and service providers to ensure that their systems are better designed from the start and better protected against liquids and extreme weather conditions. Applying water-repellent nanocoating technology to terminals ensures their longer life and better protection against water and corrosion, which means manufacturers and consumers can be confident that they can complete every transaction safely. . By advancing towards a cashless and more connected civilization, the adoption of nanotechnology will reduce point-of-sale failure rates, eliminate maintenance costs, and enable businesses and consumers to benefit from seamless and easy transactions.

Dr Stephen Coulson, Scientific Director and Founder, P2i