If you’ve been for a walk around Stellenbosch with Alan Knott-Craig in the last few weeks you would probably have seen a demo of a new geo-fenced mobile payment system. These walks usually end on the top floor of Mxit‘s office where the barista is busy making coffee.
The idea with the Gust project was to design a really quick mobile payment experience (without NFC).
Mxit staff can buy lunch at about 15 places around Stellenbosch using their mobile phones. One restaurant had poor GSM signal which made the payment process a bit unpredictable and slow. While walking back to the office, ideas for a better payment experience were discussed. Six weeks later the Gust payment system was launched at a Mxit party.
Gust runs on an iPhone. The merchant side runs on an iPad. When two devices are close to each other the merchant can request a payment from the mobile phone. Unlike other payment systems which use geo-fencing logic, Gust does not need a GPS device or even a GSM connection. It will happily run on an entry level iPod Touch.
Gust devices on the same wifi network will discover each other. All communication happens over the wifi network which makes the payment process really fast. That’s where the name Gust comes from… rapid burst of wind.
Gust simply uses wifi, your name and our photo to make a payment. When a user’s phone joins a payment location the merchant’s iPad shows a list of names and photos of Gust users connected to that payment location. After a user places an order the merchant sends a payment request. The user sees a payment request and approves it.
The Alpha version video (quick hack):
Mxit staff have been using an Alpha version of Gust around Stellenbosch since early April. The first public demo was at a recent #hackstb meetup.
The Beta is in development and should be out in June. Stellenbosch only for now.