Another Way to Play

Forget about Big Macs and Nachos Bell Grande. Wireless technology is redefining the fast food concept.

Forget about Big Macs and Nachos Bell Grande. Wireless technology is redefining the fast food concept.

Aether Systems, in partnership with Micros Systems, is set to unveil a platform that allows restaurant patrons to instantly pay their checks using their cell phone, handheld organizer or other wireless device.

The platform, dubbed Anywhere Commerce, will also apply to other hospitality venues, such as ballparks and theme parks. Additional applications include bank fund transfers, bill paying, stock trading, e-mail payments and online shopping transactions.

The platform is in development and is set to be launched as a pilot in a restaurant chain later this year.

Rob Regan, director of product development and marketing at Aethers mobile commerce division, says banks and wireless carriers, particularly Internet service providers, are the target customers for Anywhere Commerce. Carriers can offer Anywhere Commerce as a service to their customers, who set up a mobile wallet that includes financial information such as credit-card numbers.

Restaurants that use the Micros computer system will be able to send the details of a customers check directly from the restaurant computer to an Aether server. A patron who has an Anywhere Commerce mobile wallet can then key in a code number from his restaurant tab into his wireless device and pay via credit card.

"One of the key core strategies is that all the customers information is stored at the host, not on the PDA [personal digital assistant], so if you lose your phone, everyone doesnt get your account information," Regan says.

Aether is teaming up with established computer system vendors to launch Anywhere Commerce. For instance, Micros, which has 120,000 systems installed in restaurants, hotels, casinos and entertainment centers around the world, will market Anywhere Commerce as an additional service to its customers. Aether is partnering with First Data to launch the credit-card payment portion of Anywhere Commerce, and SI to market the online banking system.