Start-up claims it has ‘closed the loop’ on m-commerce

3 Oct 2011

Actus co-founders Pat Fox and Tony Burke

Actus Mobile, a new Irish software company headed by a management team that includes Microsoft’s former director of international internet strategy, says it has developed a platform that will tie up all the security and commercial loose ends associated with m-commerce.

Actus Mobile co-founder Tony Burke was one of the original senior management team members who established Microsoft’s European Product Development Centre in Ireland and later became Microsoft’s director of international internet strategy. Since leaving Microsoft, he has been involved in a number of start-ups and company expansions, including Fusion, Windmill Lane Recording Studios and GeoGuides.

His other co-founders include FMCG industry expert Pat Fox and 37-year ICT industry veteran Ray Breen.

The Wicklow-based software company has launched what it claims is the world’s most secure mobile transaction platform m:Cipher.

The platform has a myriad of potential uses, from priority booking of tickets via your mobile device that allows users to skip queues, to enabling doctors to securely access patient notes anywhere in the world.

From an m-commerce perspective, the platform also uses location-based technology to guide users to that Tommy Hilfiger shirt in a store that they had been eyeing online.

“There are many big claims made for technology and how it’s going to change our lives,” Fox explained, “but our fully protected m:Cypher platform is going to, in my view, dramatically change the way we use our mobile phones in everyday life. Imagine you enter a shopping centre where the centre is enabled with Actus Mobile’s application; your phone will be able to tell you where to find the purchase you want to make, say a shirt, and then it will direct you straight to the relevant shirt shelf.

“Better still, as you drive into the shopping centre, your phone will also alert you to special deals on items that you have pre-selected, like Levi’s jeans or Tommy Hilfiger shirts. Our technology will drive sales for shops and save shoppers money by, for example, advising of special offers nearby.

High-level mobile security

“And it’s not just for shopping. Our level of security is so high, we are at 4-Factor Authentication (4-FA) security, a security level that would take a supercomputer some hundreds of years to crack, that you will be able to securely bank, renew your medical prescription, retrieve personal information from your GP, place a bet or purchase a ticket, reserve a seat or pay your bills all from your mobile phone. If you’re in a slow-moving queue in an airport and you decide you want to upgrade to priority boarding you can do that as you shuffle along in the queue. Similarly, you can reserve a restaurant table, purchase a seat in the cinema or even buy a scratch card (and scratch it on your phone!) again, all securely from your phone.”

Actus is understood to be in talks with a various international companies about applying its technology, including major shopping centres, hospitals, international betting companies, airports and financial services companies.

After two years of building and testing, the company has commenced a hiring programme to recruit in excess of 18 high-level, multi-disciplined staff immediately, including senior mobile application developers.

According to a Survey Analytics report in June 2011, the location-based services market is to grow to $10bn (€7bn) by 2016, with search advertising accounting for roughly half of that revenue.

The report says consumers are increasingly demanding services such as search, maps, or navigation, for which location information is either fundamental to or provides greater context, utility and therefore, appeal. The one potential hold-up for consumers, according to the report, is privacy issues, something m:Cypher has now overcome, heralding a consumer revolution in the retail sector.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years