Want to know how to improve your events?
We will send you an email with exclusive tips and tricks every two weeks.
Subscribe!

We will do everything in our power to keep your data secure.

Protected: Player Demo

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

The rise of touchless technology and its applications

In a world where social distancing is the new normal, touchless technologies begin to gain more and more interest. Before the global pandemic, people didn’t think twice before touching door handles, elevator buttons, or check-in kiosks. But as we speak, high touch surfaces are a hot topic as worries over health and safety are on the rise. As a result, fintech innovators and not only, are looking for ground-breaking alternatives to keep us all safe.

‘Work from home’ is certainly not a permanent alternative, since many businesses require employees to be physically present to get the job done. As you probably heard this before, Coronavirus is not likely to go away anytime soon, so touchless technologies seem like a great opportunity to get things back to normal. In response, some companies started to implement a touchless check-in process for visitors or even Bluetooth access control for employees.

It seems like it’s the perfect time to go touchless. Even if this need is forced by uncontrollable factors, such as a global pandemic, we should look on the bright side of it and become aware that going touchless is in our own good. So, let’s go over some examples of touchless technologies and find out more about it in general.

What are we trying to say by ‘going touchless’?

Well, despite how relevant this topic is as we speak, businesses going touchless is not new. In fact, touchless technology has been around since the late 1980s when motion-sensing faucets and soap dispensers were common within public restrooms. Today, we experience touchless technology several times a day. Just think of how many times you walk through an automated door or think of those moments when you ask Siri to turn on the timer for you.

As you can see, touchless technology is not limited to hygiene and safety. Societies look up to it and treat it as a forward-thinking and modern alternative to complete daily tasks. With that being said, we can define touchless technology as anything that can function without the need to physically touch a device.

Example of touchless technologies

  • Gesture recognition

This is among the most common types of touchless technology. The way we interact with devices is simply replaced by gestures. For instance, waving your hand to activate an automated door replaces the need to physically touch its knob or button.

  • Touchless sensing

Similar to gesture recognition, touchless sensing can detect the movement of an individual under a sensor. In our day to day lives, we come across this no-touch technology several times per day. Think of the last time that you went to a gas station, grocery store, or lodging facility. Most likely, there was no one to open the door for you and you didn’t have to do it yourself either. Thanks to touchless sensing, such actions are simplified and become part of our daily routine.

  • Voice recognition

This form of touchless technology enables users to control a device by speaking to it. Android and Apple devices can be controlled by simply stating some keywords, such as ‘Hey Siri’, replacing the need to touch that device at all. Setting up reminders, timers or other tasks is as quick and simple as ever.

  • Facial recognition

Not long ago, facial recognition seemed to be far from reality. Now, this touchless technology is available for millions of people, most often utilized to unlock smartphones. However, as more people gained interest in its capabilities, innovators found great use cases and environments where it can be applied. The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines started a test involving ‘biometric boarding’, allowing passengers to board the aircraft without showing their ID’s anymore, recognizing passengers by their faces.

  • Personal devices

Apple Pay has proved that traditional credit cards can be left behind and that payments can be completed from our own devices. Compared to contactless payments, where users must touch the POS with a card to complete a transaction, personal devices provide a ‘cleaner’ alternative where that ‘touch’ is not necessary to successfully complete a transaction. Modern personal devices can store your credit/debit cards virtually. For safety reasons, upon completing a purchase, users can authenticate by using their own faces or by inputting a personal identification number.

Oveit as a touchless payment solution

At Oveit, we strongly believe in the power of touchless technologies, especially during the current situation, that of a global pandemic. Until now, our Economy as a Service solution was partially touchless since economy members were required to visit an on-site top-up point to add money onto their digital wallets.

To tackle this challenge and identify ourselves as a complete touchless solution, we started to think the extra mile and concluded that an end-user App is what we need. The purpose of this App is to enhance the experience of our end-users, enabling them to top-up money in a defined economy, from the comfort of their own houses or wherever an internet connection is available.

For economy owners, this alternative should reduce costs, with fewer staff members required. Economy members simply become their own cashiers and upon arrival, their digital wallets should be ready to go. Also, if activated, the auto top-up feature allows users to set a warning limit. As soon as that warning limit is reached, the digital wallet automatically adds up the pre-defined amount from the linked credit/debit card.

Circular Economy: principles, benefits, and solutions

The main goal of a circular economy model is to produce goods and services in a sustainable manner by reducing the consumption and waste of resources (raw materials, water, energy). It contradicts with the traditional linear economy, that of a ‘take-make-consume-waste’.

According to many, a circular economy requires a local production capacity. It is a process that depends on fundamental changes to the existing production and consumption systems. According to the World Economic Forum, the world’s economy is only 9% circular. To become more efficient and preserve our natural resources, we must open our eyes and begin to think circular rather than linear.

Today, we are going to focus on the Circular Economy model, its principles, benefits, and existing solutions implemented to tackle the traditional linear economy.

The principles of the Circular Economy

In this model, every single product is manufactured and designed for future reuse, and ideally, at the end of its lifetime, it becomes a potential resource. Within this model, each stage in the economic cycle is modified, from producing goods and services to using them. It is an environment where products are built to last, with less energy and resources consumed. Please find below the three main principles of the Circular Economy.

1.       Design out waste and pollution

What if waste and pollution were never created in the first place? In a circular model, product waste is eliminated straight from the design stage, meaning that goods can be used and reused longer, fixed more easily, and finally recycled to create additional industrial inputs.

2.       Keep products and materials in use

A circular economy promotes activities where value in terms of energy, labor, and material is preserved. With the available technologies and innovative solutions, products should be designed for durability, reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling. This leads to a closed-loop production system, where components are circulating the economy. It takes advantage of bio-based materials, allowing businesses to reuse them for several products.

3.         Regenerate natural systems

The process of extracting and processing natural resources causes 90% of global biodiversity loss and water stress while harming the global climate. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2060, the current resource use of 190 billion tones will double and exceed our planetary boundaries. Therefore, changes in business and policy models must occur.

A circular economy is designed to eliminate the use of non-renewable resources, preserving, and focusing on renewable ones. This way, valuable nutrients are returned to the soil and renewable energy is used rather than fossil fuels.

Economic benefits of a Circular Economy

At a macro level, circularity has many economic advantages. A surplus of $2 trillion a year could result from more effective resource management. This is due to a substantial decrease in the cost of raw materials.

  • Considerable resource savings

Even if more and more people become aware of the circular economy model, the extraction and prices of the main raw materials are still on the rise. In 2019, only 9% of all raw materials were recycled. In theory, a circular economy should recycle 100% of these materials, without new virgin raw materials required. However, it is predicted that this scenario will take quite a long time to be accomplished. Innovative methods should be applied to completely recycle materials that are utilized in production.

  • Economic growth

In this model, economic growth is not dependent on the scarcity of raw materials. It is predicted that a shift towards the circular economy is set to promote economic growth. Since new raw materials are not extracted anymore, the development, maintenance, and production of circular products will require a specialized workforce, increasing the number of jobs. With less demand for specialized jobs in the extraction and processing of raw materials, specialized employees will have to adjust to a new work environment.

  • Employment opportunities

As previously mentioned, the need to extract raw materials is not fundamental within a circular model. For this reason, such an economy requires a specialized workforce with a new set of relevant skills and aptitudes. Therefore, workers that extract and process raw materials might have to adapt and get familiar with new procedures and environments. The existing studies anticipate a modest, but positive impact of Circular Economy on employment volume.

  • A good reason to innovate

Change comes with a desire to innovate. Thinking circular rather than linear already motivates innovators to optimize the entire system. This will form new collaborations between different parties involved, such as recyclers, producers, and designers. They can add more knowledge and great value in terms of sustainable innovations.

Circular Economy solutions

  • CleanCup

Headquartered in Lyon, France, CleanCup is a solution designed to eliminate the use of disposable cups. They promote it as a turnkey solution meant to distribute, collect, and automatically wash reusable cups. Places such as campuses, companies, and communities are prioritized since those tend to generate a lot of waste.

Globally, it was established that people use 500 billion plastic cups and 16 billion coffee cups coated in paper. In theory, it is possible to recycle disposable cups, but the manufacturing process tends to be somewhat difficult, leading to very few of them being recycled. With CleanCup, one can get a clean and empty cup for a 1€ deposit. At any point in time, the user simply puts the cup back inside the machine and gets back the deposit. As soon as a cup is returned, the machine automatically washes it to be reused.

  • Positive Energy Ltd.

This is a matchmaking platform between investors and small to mid-scale renewable energy facilities. Its purpose is to allow investors to easily find projects that require renewable energy financing.  This blockchain-based asset financing, trading, and management platform digitalize the transaction workflow, making renewable energy investments fast, liquid, and transparent for all parties involved.

This initiative aims to boost renewable energy investments. By 2030, it could save around 20 million tons of CO2 per year. It is widely accessible and profitable for shareholders, with return on investment.

  • RePack

This solution replaces the single-use delivery packages in e-commerce, providing reusable, and returnable delivery packaging. It is cost-efficient and environmentally friendly, with 78% less CO2 created and 92% less landfill waste, compared to traditional packaging.

Users can simply return these packages in letter-size or to any location using RePack packaging. Customers are incentivized to return used boxes through different vouchers to be redeemed at any participating RePack store. This packaging can be used at least 20 times.

Oveit as a possible solution to track local recycling practices

Not long ago, we concluded that our technology can be utilized in different contexts. Among these, we feel that Oveit can be looked at as a viable solution to track and incentivize communities to recycle responsibly.

By using NFC wristbands or cards, community members can be rewarded and incentivized to recycle waste. It could add up gamification elements to an important cause. Participating locations can simply use any Android NFC enabled device to scan cards or wristbands. Based on the expected outcome, members can easily be rewarded in real-time. For instance, the economy owner might reward members that recycle at least three times per week. To record data, NFC readers could be placed nearby waste containers. Members that recycle enough are automatically rewarded and all that information is stored on their digital accounts (NFC wristband or card).

The evolution of money: from barter to digital currencies

Money, as we use it today, is the result of a long process. Its physical characteristics are worthless without the value that people place on it. We use it as a medium of exchange, allowing us to trade goods and services.

Standard money did not always exist and in its early ages, people utilized other forms to exchange goods and services. With the changing requirements of economies and the evolution of technology, money and payments have changed considerably. As we speak, credit card transactions and digital currencies enable people to purchase goods and services virtually, in a matter of seconds. On top of that, there are currently over 150 currencies worldwide.

How did we get here? Let’s find out more about the evolution of money, how it was used in its early ages, and what brought us where we are.

The Barter economy

When barter was used as an exchange medium, the needs of people were very limited. The barter system has been used for centuries and it dates to 6000 BC.  This trading method doesn’t involve money and it relies solely on exchanging goods and services for other services and goods in return.

Bartering was common among Mesopotamia tribes and it was later adopted by Phoenicians. Belongings were exchanged for munition, herbs, food, and tea. Salt was considered a common exchange item and Roman soldiers wanted it so much that their salaries were paid with it. Europeans traveled around the world to barter crafted items and furs in exchange for silks and perfumes. Livestock was as well demanded in bartering. If someone owned cows and sheep, it meant they were wealthy.

Commodity Money

Similar to barter, commodity money worked under the same principle, with the only difference that societies placed different values on specific items. Let’s assume that we have two farmers, X and Y. X is growing olives and Y is growing potatoes. Farmer X needs potatoes and offers farmer Y olives in exchange, but Y doesn’t need olives at all. As a result, Y refuses the offer and the exchange fails. This was the main challenge of barter. It was quite hard to agree on two goods to be exchanged.

Therefore, common things like shells, salt, and pebbles (small stones) were looked at as commodities for exchange. This enabled farmer X to sell his olives in exchange for shells (as money), and with those shells, he could simply buy potatoes from farmer Y. Commodity money brought the birth of money in ancient times and economies started to develop because of that.

Metallic Money (coins)

As people were using commodity money more often, they identified new problems. This trading medium had three major common defects – perishability, indivisibility, and heterogeneity. They couldn’t be kept for a long time, so people couldn’t repay their loans or save it for other needs in the future. Besides that, commodities were not the same in every market, and trading with other regions was very difficult.

King Alyattes of Lydia became the first to mint official currency in 600 B.C. This currency was represented by coins, made of silver and gold. Coins were stamped with pictures to avoid counterfeiting. Each coin had a different value which made it easier for people to estimate the cost of items. As a result, this adopted currency helped Lydia’s both internal and external trade, classifying it as one of the richest empires in Asia Minor. If you’ve heard the saying “as rich as Croesus”, it refers back to the last Lydian King that issued the first gold coin. Soon after that, countries started to mint their own coins with different values.

Paper money or Representative money

Paper currency was first developed in Tang dynasty China during the 7th century, but true paper money only appeared during the Song dynasty, in the 11th century. Marco Polo was the one that introduced the concept of paper money in Europe, during the 13th century. Back then, paper money was used to buy goods and it operated in many ways just like currency nowadays. The main difference was that currency was issued by banks and private institutions. Now, the government is responsible for issuing money in almost all countries.

Representative money (paper money) was made and is currently made of materials with little to no value. The real value was backed by a bank’s promise to exchange that piece of paper for various goods, such as gold or silver.

Credit Money

As money became the main standard and societies started to realize that living a good life is dictated by a piece of paper, life was not safe anymore. Paper money had no protection from theft and rich people were treated as targets by thieves. In response, a banking system was created. This model enabled people to save their earnings into a safe savings account and allocate loans for people in need. However, in its early stage, the biggest issue was that moneylenders were exploiting poor people. As a result, banks took the responsibility to provide loans with some conditions.

Electronic Money or ‘Plastic’ Money

Electronic money is what we know as credit or debit cards. It is a way to store currency electronically and one can withdraw money by using an ATM. During the 1920s, individual firms in the US started to issue credit cards for customers. Purchases were only available internally at company locations. Nowadays, this model is used by businesses such as Starbucks. Customers receive a loyalty card on which they can add money and pay with it at any Starbucks location. They receive points with every purchase. With Oveit, economy owners can create a closed-loop environment, which works under the same principle. It is up to the economy owner to decide which vendors are part of it and members can easily be rewarded based on purchase behavior.

In 1950, Diner’s Club introduced the first universal credit card, which could be used within different locations. In 1958, American Express revolutionized the use of credit cards. It was the first credit card to be accepted internationally. In its early stages, these cards were made of paper, with the account number and customer’s name typed. After one year, in 1959, American Express began to issue plastic cards, an industry first.

In our days, credit cards can be stored on mobile devices. Services like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay enable customers to pay by simply tapping their phones to a point-of-sale terminal. It replaces the need to carry a physical card in your wallet.

Cryptocurrencies

In 2008, Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to appear. Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity is still a mystery, was the one that mined the first block of the Bitcoin network, piloting the blockchain technology. The most important differentiator of crypto payments is that transactions are decentralized, without a governing body. Transactions are stored in individual blocks and are immutable. Cryptocurrencies are not tangible, and they don’t possess a physical value. Businesses begin to realize that using crypto payments results in lower transaction fees. Without intermediaries involved in the process, traditional credit card fees are not an expense anymore. To give you an understanding of the evolution of crypto, as we speak, there are 5000 cryptocurrencies out there.

Final thoughts

Quite a long journey, isn’t it? The evolution of money indicates technological and economic development. From exchanging cows and chickens to digital currencies, humankind never fails to adapt and find innovative alternatives.

At Oveit, we are truly impressed by how money evolved over time. Our closed-loop payment solution wouldn’t be in place without this continuous development and eagerness to dream big. We want to focus more on local economies and their overall well-being, providing them with our Economy as a Service solution.

How to reach your financial goals through Gamification

We live in a world where 39% of adults would find it difficult to spend $400 for an unforeseen expense, without borrowing or selling something they own. For most of us, personal finance is boring. The idea of forcing yourself to limit your spending habits is certainly not a simple task. However, saving and spending money can turn into a game, a game where you can make your own rules or follow the rules of others.

As a result, fintech innovators came up with a novel approach, that of gamifying spending and savings. They’re using game design techniques to engage people in a non-gaming context. It is a fun and competitive way to challenge yourself and transform savings into a daily routine. 

What is Gamification?

It is a way of adding game mechanics into nongame contexts (scoring and winning while competing with others). It is frequently used by businesses in marketing campaigns and loyalty programs, to increase customer engagement and awareness. Gamified products and services stimulate users to reach a financial goal through competition, points, achievements, rules of play, and other methods.

3 Mobile Apps that can help you Gamify your finances

1.       Venmo

Simply put, Venmo is a money transfer service. Back in 2013, the company was purchased by PayPal and as we speak, it’s still under their control. It is a mobile-oriented App, without a web feature available. As transactions occur, users can decide to share purchasing habits on a social news feed with other Venmo clients. Many consider it entertaining since users can leave comments and reactions on those transactions that are made public.

This works by linking your bank account (debit or credit card) to the Venmo App. It is very common among millennials and younger tech-savvy users. It got so popular for its innovative way of embracing a new kind of money system. Users can pay family and friends by using a phone number or email address. Transactions are categorized based on spending habits and users can access detailed reports to monitor their financial behavior.

2.       Givling

This one is focused on students that need financial support to repay their student loans in a fun and competitive manner. Registered students compete by playing a weekly trivia game on their phones. It was founded by a Stanford University graduate.

Members are randomly assigned to a team of three. To earn points, a team needs to correctly answer several yes-or-no trivia questions to rank higher. At the end of a week, the highest-scoring team gets to split the cash prize three ways. This is available for anyone and a student loan is not required to participate.

For students that need financial support to repay their loans, they need to enroll in a so-called ‘Givling Queue’. To get in the funding queue, students need to collect as many points as they can. Points can be earned by either playing trivia for free, by watching sponsor ads, by purchasing Givling merchandise, by inviting friends to participate, and by following Givling on social media. The maximum amount allocated for a student loan is $50,000.

3.       Long Game savings

By downloading the Long Game Savings app, users can create an FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) savings and spending account. Its main goal is to make it fun for users to save money. When participants make a deposit in their savings account, they don’t just earn interest but are also awarded Coins. These coins can then be used to play games with the chance of winning cash and cryptocurrencies. With every financial goal achieved, users can level up and unlock new games as well as features. Cash earned by playing in-app games can be withdrawn at any point in time.

Create your own game to reach a financial goal

Instead of playing by the rules of others, you can get creative and begin to motivate yourself by sticking to your own rules. Here are some ideas that might inspire you.

·   Agree on ‘no spend’ weeks

Even if it sounds impossible at first, you don’t need to starve to pass this level. If you are eager to have an unforgettable holiday in the summer, ‘no spend’ weeks during cold and quiet seasons might not be so hard in the end. It can be looked at as a good strategy to take baby steps toward bigger financial targets.

When heading to work, bring your own breakfast and coffee instead of stopping by your favorite drive-thru. Forget about happy hour after work and enjoy your favorite beer at home. See, in the end, you’re still doing the same activities but slightly different. Now, try to keep track of your ‘no spend’ week costs and establish what needs to be changed and if it’s worth doing it.

·       Challenge your friends

Create a savings challenge among your friends with a tempting prize. The 52 weeks challenge is an all year competition. To begin, you need to figure out how much money you can put aside each month. Once you find out that amount, add an extra 10% to that number. Simply, divide that number by 52 and you end up with your weekly savings goal. The main purpose of this challenge is to end up saving at least 10% more than you initially thought you could. Based on individual incomes, the one that ends up saving the most wins it all.

·       Sell your old stuff

Always think of people in need and if you can, donate relevant items before posting them for sale. However, old electronics and gadgets can be looked at as an unexplored source of income. If you decide to upgrade your laptop or smartphone, sell your old ones rather than leaving them in a drawer for years. The available e-commerce platforms can accommodate your needs and help with your personal finances by selling unused items.

Bottom line

Who said that saving up can’t be fun? If you find it difficult to put money aside or don’t have enough to cover an unforeseen event, it might be the right time to give gamified saving a chance. Stick to your own rules or use any savings solution that matches your personality and motivates you to dream bigger.

At Oveit, we like the idea of making money social and transparent. We plan to enable economy members to share transactions with each other and add social media features, such as comments and likes for purchased products. Economy members will also have the option to set a spending limit, helping them to reach their financial goals in a responsible way. Stay tuned for more!