Thursday , August 5, 2021

Sonarax Targets Payments With a Sound-Based Protocol

Sonarax, an ultrasonic-communications company, unveiled a new protocol for enabling devices, including ATMs and those capable of mobile payments, to communicate with one another.

Israel-based Sonarax says its technology enables pairing of devices and data transfer on both encrypted and open channels using frequencies that are beyond human hearing capabilities. The technology requires no special hardware and can be intertwined with other audio channels, such as television programming.

A demonstration of a Sonarax-equipped smart phone communicating with an ATM via sound.

Initially, payments is one of three areas Sonarax is targeting. The company says a test of contactless ATM interaction, which doesn’t require the actual card to be inserted into the machine, is under way with “major global banks and financial institutions.” Sonarax also is eyeing authentication and indoor positioning, such as locating one’s device within a shopping mall or hospital where GPS is nonfunctional.

“We’re utilizing the existing element of sound to modernize machine-to-machine connectivity so that it enhances payment authentication,” Benny Saban, Sonarax chief executive, said in a press release.

Sonarax is not the first to use sound waves for payments. In 2017, Cincinnati-based LISNR launched its sound-based service. Then, it said Ticketmaster used the technology to process mobile event tickets. In 2018, point-of-sale terminal maker Equinox Payments announced an integration with LISNR, which also announced taxi app RideYellow adopted the technology.

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