Peer-to-peer tip payment service Tip.ly has officially launched, having debuted at this week’s Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas. The company’s platform uses biometric technology to allow peer-to-peer payment for tipping service industry professionals.
Here’s how it works: When users want to tip their servers, the service automatically looks for nearby service professionals who have signed up with Tip.ly; users then identify the servers from a list, and proceed with the payment. If a server hasn’t signed up, a user can send a tip by taking a picture of the server’s face and submitting it to the service. If the server in question signs up for Tip.ly within fourteen days, the service can then use facially recognition technology to authenticate the server’s identity, and that server is then able to collect the tip.
If that all sounds a bit far-fetched, bear in mind that this kind of biometric technology has been creeping into everyday social life very quickly, and may soon become so ubiquitous that a service like Tip.ly’s doesn’t raise any eyebrows. Some phones already have a ‘face unlock’ feature that uses facial recognition technology, while comedy clubs in Spain are starting to use such technology to track audience laughter; and a handheld 3D face scanner is likely to appear in retail stores next year.