At CCV, we’re always looking to push innovation in payment technology. As a team, we work across geographical boundaries with one shared mantra: let’s make payment happen.
Our team has been working on an exciting new product line, never seen before in Europe. It’s called PayDroid – our new Android-based payment terminals. The solution provides great opportunities for our customers, but in this article our colleagues tell us how the team built it…
We’ll highlight the concepts, challenges, and rewards of building a payment terminal on the Android operating system (OS). You’ll hear the story directly from some of our technical people, who give unique insights on what it’s like to work at CCV as an engineer.
Android has an 85.9% global market share, and in 2017 there were 1.3 billion Android smartphone devices sold worldwide. It is the world’s leading OS – by a very long way. And by today it’s part of CCV’s new product line. With this step, CCV wrote a success story, being one of the first companies to introduce smart, app-based technology to the payment world. But how did we get there? Let’s go back and start from the beginning: As a result of our partnership with PAX Technology, a new idea was born in 2017: Our Director Competence Center Payment Acceptance of CCV Group and German CTO, Günther Froschermeier, had the vision to see whether we could create a new payment terminal that worked on the Android operating system. The goal was to bring Android-terminals as open-platform devices into the market with benefits for merchants like same user-friendliness and experience that they know from their smartphones and benefits for resellers and partners to deploy own App-solutions.
And guess what? We did it!
Daniel Ferlings, Chief Product Officer at CCV Deutschland says:
“We wanted our Android-powered payment terminal to give a familiar user experience, whilst making updates and integrations easier for the merchant. In combination with all kinds of added-value business apps, the mission was to give businesses possibilities that they’ve never had before.”
These added-value business apps were the foundation of the business case for PayDroid. We knew that an Android payment terminal could offer merchants more than just a simple payment function. With such a huge range of Android business apps on the market, the opportunity was clear from the outset – and we have launched our new app marketplace already: CCVStore.
It was a challenging project, for many reasons. Firstly, with the software itself. One of the biggest challenges was to integrate the existing payment engine with Android. According to CCV Software Engineer, Valerii Serediouk, this was a complex but rewarding experience:
“My first task was to collect requirements to figure out how our existing payment engine could work on this new Android OS. Especially in the area of User Interface (UI) handling we needed to adapt to the new flow dictated by Android.”
Richard Roos is Head of Software Engineering (CTP) & Product Owner. His role is to manage the team that provides the platform abstraction layer for the Android devices. He says:
“We had to familiarize ourselves with the NDK (Native Development Kit) and the Java based SDK provided by Google in order to interface with the operating system. Most of this work was done by our software development team, which involved discovering and implementing the necessary components to use these Google interfaces. If no suitable NDK interface was available, we had to reflect back to Java land via JNI (Java Native Interface) – and then we could make use of the APIs in the Java environment and use it in the C++ environment.”
Software Developer, Julian von Heydebrand, echoes the views of Valerii and Richard:
“I agree that the integration with the new OS was the main technical challenge. Another, rather high-level, challenge was the overall philosophy of the system. On the one hand there is Android which wants to give the user as much freedom in using it and on the other hand there is a secure payment device which needs to be locked down in some parts. We had to reconcile this lack of control with the requirements of our existing software stack.”
As we mentioned earlier, we have launched our CCVStore. The CCVStore is fundamental to the success of our Android terminals, and as Technical Product Manager, Hakan Gümüs has a key role to play in bridging the gap between CCV and third-party app developers. It’s important to mention that CCV provides the CCVStore and develops the payment applications, but partners provide all the other apps in the ecosystem. When partners want to release an app in our CCVStore, Hakan collects the technical requirements to make it happen. He says:
“First of all, we didn’t want to confuse our customers with a radically different layout, interface, or functionality – despite the device being Android-based. This was a huge challenge in itself – but once we’d successfully integrated the CCV payment engine into the Android OS, we could focus on building the app marketplace (CCVStore) and adding value for merchants in a whole new way.”
According to Hakan, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to third-party apps:
“Different app partners need different things. The magic word for dealing with the different requirements is ‘customizing’.”
However, there the fix relied on deeper levels of customization
“We found a way to customize our PayDroid OS to enable some functions for some merchants and disable some for other. There are actually many configuration possibilities with the CCVStore, because it’s not just an app store – it’s a Terminal Management System which can configure each terminal. We can push apps or firmware, send messages direct to the terminal, and we can activate a remote support tool to help and support our customers when they need it.”
In fact, CCV can customize the Android terminals to satisfy any partner, customer, or integrator. According to Hakan, it’s a challenge to maintain a whole overview, but the technical team can manage all customer feedback to ensure that each terminal is optimized for their needs.
Stay tuned for the second part of this series, the rewards, results and future developments.
CCV is an ambitious growing business. We’re on the lookout for amazing technical talent in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium. Can you help us bring cutting-edge payment solutions to market? Check below for more information about CCV vacancies in your area.
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