University of Auckland: Tech talents take out trans-Tasman challenge

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A smart, affordable, contactless payment application, which generates monthly sales and inventory insights, won gold in a trans-Tasman competition this month.

The four University of Auckland tech talents behind the winning smartphone concept, dubbed MYPOS, took out the 2022 MYOB Digital Challenge by developing a technology-centric solution to address real-life business needs and used their personal experiences to drive the creation of their payment system.

The MYPOS team, Sumanth Meenakshi, Sumukha Viswakarma, Hritom Roy and Samuel Hill met at high school, and they’re all currently studying different science, engineering, and commerce degrees at Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland.

Their collaborative effort and shared experiences resulted in the creation of MYPOS, which they designed to support small and medium-sized businesses keen to utilise a more affordable payment system.

“Small businesses in particular face issues regarding payment terminals, and they often pay a lot for the hardware each month,” says commerce and engineering student Hritom Roy.

“So we came up with a prototype application that’s more affordable than other contactless terminals, and it’s also designed to offer sales insights.”

Team member Sumanth Meenakshi says that when posed with this year’s challenge to create a novel solution to a problem that small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) face, the team also reflected on their experiences with some of their favourite small hospitality businesses.

“When brainstorming ideas, we realised that some of our favourite small food joints didn’t have payWave, or charged extra for a contactless transaction. So we investigated why this was and whether it would be possible to reverse the near-field communication (NFC) payments to the merchant’s favour.

“This is when we realised our solution, MYPOS, could be a real game-changer for SMEs. By giving SMEs a point-of-sale interface and a virtual eftpos terminal in the form of an app, we could create a pricing strategy that would be more profitable to the merchants,” says Meenakshi.

The team then took their concept a step further and created an analytics service for MYPOS users, which gives each merchant insights into their monthly sales and inventory – further showing how digitising their business could help profitability.

Selected from 77 teams across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, and competing against five other teams in the final stages of the MYOB Digital Challenge, the University of Auckland crew won high praise and $4,000 for their MYPOS concept.

“We learned a lot about SMEs, their operations, and current gaps in the Australian and New Zealand markets,” says Meenakshi.

“Winning the MYOB Digital Challenge is going to be hugely beneficial when we’re looking for graduate roles. It’s opened our eyes to a range of other career pathways, such as consulting, which we previously might not have considered.”

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