The lab is a collaboration between the government, industry associations, startups, SMEs, universities and PayPal
During a PayPal Innovation Lab launch event today, the global digital payments company announced it is dipping its feet into Singapore’s food and beverage industry.
The restaurant technology is pretty neat. It essentially eliminates the process of ordering the bill, the back-and-forth while the server pays with the card and brings it back to the table.
Customers bring up their bill through the restaurants e-ordering tablet and a message will be sent to their mobile phones. The person picking up the bill can then pay by card (or PayPal obviously) and viola! they are good to go.
The technology is not revolutionary, the American company Ziosk has been quite successful in integrating the idea across the US. But in Singapore, it is easy to imagine the average person being open to the service as its quite simple to integrate into an existing PayPal account.
The announcement was in conjunction with the launch of the PayPal Innovation Lab — a collaboration programme between the Singapore government, industry associations, small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), startups and universities.
“One year ago, we met with government agencies, industry association, entrepreneurs and SMEs and we said, ‘what can we do to do more?’ We put together our heads and the result of one year of hard work is the result of what you are going to see today,” said Dr Rohan Mahadevan, CEO for PayPal Pte. Ltd. and Senior Vice President for PayPal Asia Pacific.
PayPal Innovation Lab
The PayPal Innovation Lab is a catch-all phrase for an initiative with a number of different initiatives. The collaboration with the restaurant payment system, for example, is part of the lab’s SME outreach programme.
The idea is to promote e-commerce and digital payment integration through seminar and partnerships.
“The digital economy poses a disruptive threat to incumbent companies and industries, but also presents a unique opportunity to create economic value,” said S Iswaran, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry, at the launch.
“It will no longer suffice to be at the confluence of trade routes and the accompanying flow of goods and services; Singapore must seek to play an active role in creating solutions for the digital world,” he added.
In this context, the restaurant payment service is meant to help restaurants combat challenges in manpower and productivity.
Also Read: PayPal in Pakistan: Debunking the myth
As the term ‘lab’ might imply, PayPal has an incubation programme to go along with the initiative. Currently, it hosts three startups — ONEPAY, Prosecure.,e and InvoiceInterchange. Here is a snippet about each company:
- ONEPAY – A startup connecting blockchain technology to traditional financial services. It helps people gain access to financial services at a cheaper price than traditional infrastructure.
- Prosecure.me – An e-commerce company with its first launch product being a service to help merchants in Asia with free returns shipping.
- InvoiceInterchange – A P2P invoice trading marketplace. It targets SMEs to provide an alternative route to traditional financing.
The PayPal Innovation Lab also plans to work with universities on R&D development and provide resources for the next generation of fintech talent.
Masters and PHD students from National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University will work in R&D in the sectors of infocomm security, data mining, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.
“For example, Singapore Management University’s LiveLabs is a city-scale research test bed for companies to run large-scale consumer behaviour trials and experiments in real environments,” said Iswaran.
As pointed out by Mahadevan, the technological innovation is only picking up speed,
“What we are interacting with today is going to be nothing like what we are going to be interacting with in the next three to five years. It is only going to accelerate as technology gets faster,” he said.
PayPal hopes its innovation lab can help bridge that gap between the traditional economy and the rapidly increasing importance of technology.
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