Vladimir Arlazarov, CEO of Smart Engines, told socialbites.ca that Russian banks will be able to implement all the standard functions in web applications for iPhone owners and do without the App Store.
According to him, Smart Engines scientists, based on their own advances in AI, have created recognition technologies that can read various data from a smartphone camera directly in a browser via WebAssembly (WASM). program the code directly on a web page and do everything in the browser. It simplifies the solution of complex tasks involving the processing and decoding of data from smartphone cameras.
The head of the company explained that web apps are not able to receive and process data from the smartphone’s camera by default. Its technologies also support the Safari browser, which is essential for web apps to run on Apple devices such as the iPhone.
“This will make it possible to make web applications that will have all the functions the user is familiar with. It’s almost like a mobile app. And it works on iOS. “Still, we are all used to a smartphone and a certain level of service.”
Smart Engines technology is based on progressive web applications (PWA, progressive web application) system. Such “pumped” web apps are sites that resemble smartphone apps not only externally, but also functionally.
The purpose of the new recognition technology is to enable all Russian developers to create and distribute as close as possible to native web applications for iPhone users, bypassing the App Store.
Currently, this applies to Russian banks and Russian airlines. Its apps in the App Store are removed by the American company Apple based on sanctions imposed by the US authorities. But the technology has potential in other services, Arlazarov is sure.
What are the functions?
Payment is made with QR code in banking applications. In the case of the bank’s web application, a special software module is loaded from the server that performs real-time recognition as soon as the user points the smartphone’s camera at the QR code.
According to Arlazarov, the recognition of money transfers made through the Fast Payment System (FPS) works similarly. There is recognition of hand-printed and typed bank card data and phone numbers,” he said.
The head of Smart Engines explained that in the web version of the banking application, it will be possible to recognize passports when opening a bank account, applying for loans, buying tickets.
“The main innovation lies in the processing of the video stream and images from the camera on the user’s device using the device resources allocated to the browser. This allows you to recognize the data on the user’s device without transferring images to the company’s server, ”he added.
According to the expert, for a user, the payment process when working in the webbank on an iPhone will be almost the same as with the usual work with a camera in a native mobile application.
The web version also has its own version of Face ID, that is, identification and verification of a user by a face in the Internet bank, which many people are accustomed to when working in applications.
Smart Engines face verification technology works in web applications, bypassing the smartphone operating system. This will also help the bank verify that the person accessing the app is the owner of the bank account, not the smartphone owner, Arlazarov said.
not so fast
Alexander Salikov, CTO (Chief Technical Officer) at Tochka Bank of Entrepreneurs and Enterprises, told socialbites.ca that he is skeptical of the idea of such “pumped” web applications.
Salikov said it still has a flaw in Progressive Web Apps that it doesn’t support push notifications on iOS. As a result, banks will have to switch to SMS, which is less convertible and more expensive.
Safari for iOS still lacks push notifications for progressive web apps (PWAs). In early 2022, a clue was found in the iOS 15.4 beta that Apple is trying to add push notifications to Safari on iPhone.
However, there has been no official news about the feature so far. Therefore, it is unclear when this feature will be released.
Salikov also believes that even given the availability of technologies that make it possible to simplify the authorization process in web applications, it will be much more difficult than logging into a regular application using Face ID or Touch ID.
“Furthermore, creating a smooth, useful and beautiful interface for a web application is much more difficult than for a native application, and it is feared that companies will neglect these indicators,” Tochka’s technical director added.
According to him, the only advantage there is for companies that choose this path is that they won’t have to spend money on hiring a separate team.
“As a result, however, the customer will face challenges: They will have a less convenient app and a more expensive service. The cost of paid SMS will eventually be transferred to him,” he said.
Option for current conditions
In cases where the App Store has removed the services of Russian banks, progressive web applications are a real option to circumvent sanctions and situations, Ivan Samoylenko, managing partner of B&C Agency, told socialbites.ca.
The specialist is more positive about this format for the Russian market. According to him, the advantage of such applications is that the application does not need to be placed in the App Store.
The web app can be downloaded from a bank, online store or travel agency site without waiting for approval from Apple. The expert assessed that the demand for the new technology is very high – companies outside the financial sector will also be interested in its implementation.
It can be not only payments and transfers, but also orders or reservations.
“Such applications will be useful and useful in the service industry, including retail and utilities, logistics, tourism, e-commerce, taxi and food ordering,” Samoylenko said.
According to him, given the active development of SBP and the SBPey service in the country, the appearance in web applications of the function of reading QR codes for payments and transfers, based on the reading of QR codes for payments in stores, will be extremely important.
“Russian banks have just begun to adapt these versions to replace them. [нативных] Applications that become unavailable to customers, so their functionality will be expanded,” Samoylenko is sure.