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.

Microsoft’s Zero Effort Payments (ZEP)

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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