Blog Posts

Preliminary Design Review Presentation

After weeks of preparations, BluePay presented the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to our American Express liaisons on Tuesday this week. We met for several practice runs, where we made sure to incorporate all of the feedback we’ve gotten from both our classmates and our coach. On the day of our presentation, BluePay practiced our timing and transitions one last time. After this practice, we presented our PDR to our liaisons. The presentation went very smoothly, just like how we practiced. The liaisons were also very satisfied with our plan for the project. The team is very happy with how the presentation went.

Now that the liaisons have approved of our plans for the project, BluePay can start developing a prototype. Following Scrum methodologies, the team divided the main objectives for our prototype into 3 sprints: developing functionality and UI for the app, simulating BLE signals on the app, and creating a POS back-end server. Since the presentation, each member of the team has been working on individual tasks that we delegate in our team meetings. Next week we will give an update on our progress towards the prototype!

Continuing Preparations for the Preliminary Design Review

Team BluePay has been meeting regularly to polish our presentation for the Preliminary Design Review. We improved our transition flow and time management while also speaking with enthusiasm. During our weekly meeting with our team coach Ashish, we decided to begin using the Scrum framework for developing our product as a team.

We have outlined three spring that all of us will work towards. Working small amounts for all the features simultaneously and focusing on one task at a time will allow us to make significant progress for our prototype. The team is beginning to use GitHub and Android Studio to set up our project and develop the prototype.

Our team also focused on professional development this week. All team members attended a workshop called “A Thorough Introduction to the Scrum Framework” hosted by Dr. Manuel Bermudez. The workshop was very relevant to our software project. Some things we learned about and will be implementing in our project include sprint planning, different roles of a Scrum team, and product backlogs.

Next week BluePay will start working on Sprint 1 and developing our prototype for inspection day. We can’t wait to be able to show what we’ve worked on this semester!

Preparing for the Preliminary Design Review

Team BluePay spent the week working on the PDR Presentation, PDR Report and PDR Peer Review Memo. Throughout the week, we received feedback from our peers and the IPPD staff on ways that we can improve our PDR presentation when we give it to the American Express Liaison. 

Pretty soon we`ll have the approval to begin implementing our project prototype. This is when the project truly gets fun! We finally get to be able to use what we have learned in our classes leading up to this point. 

For the next week, we will continue to practice our PDR Presentation in order to maximize our flow and time management. These were two consistent issues we heard when we gave our peer presentation during the week. Also, we will begin to create a GitHub repository and we will install a dev environment onto all of our respective computers. We plan to have everything ready for when we get approval from our sponsor liaison!

Incorporating Feedback

Team BluePay spent most of this week presenting our product design and architecture so far to both our peers and our liaisons at American Express. We received a lot of feedback, which we will be implementing over the next few days. The team also started working on our concept design to be presented to our peers and liaisons next week.

We’ve learned from our presentations that we need to emphasize the customer’s experience in our design. Our original architecture focused mainly on the technology between the BLE beacons and the POS system, so we will be adding more focus on the user. The feedback from our liaison was to change part of the transaction portion of our architecture. He advised our team to understand a normal card and POS interaction, and to simulate this with our app. We will post an update once it is finalized!


I’m giving my weekly update again! This week I hosted meetings with our team coach and team liaison. I kept track of our plans for this upcoming week and delivered this to my team members. I created a document where we can all input our concept generations and where we can decide on the best one in order to present to our sponsors! I conducted a lot of research into POS systems and into patents that make POS BLE accessible. I’ve presented my research to my team and have heard only positive feedback. This upcoming week we’ll be working a lot on the PDR presentation and report.

A Month of Progress

Our team is officially one month into our project! So far, we’ve done a lot of research, a lot of planning, and a lot of documentation. One of the highlights from this week was having our first meeting with our liaison from American Express. He met with us via Zoom all the way from Phoenix, AZ. We discussed our current plan for how the BLE app will communicate with beacons and the POS system. Our liaison made some adjustments to our approach, so we are shifting part of our research. We also determined which mobile platform our app prototype will run on. We chose to support Android since our team members have experience with Android app development.

What’s Next?

Now that we have spoken to our liaison, our team needs to iron out the details for our approach on how the app, beacon, and POS communicate with each other. While we are continuing our research, we are also preparing for our first report presentation in 2 weeks. We are excited to present all our research that we’ve been doing this past month.


I`m Ryan Pujols, an ISE working on this project. This week, I researched different POS systems like Clover and Square to see which ones we could use to pair our phones to. Along with this, I looked into how BLE can interact with a POS system and its accompanying cost. I have also been formulating different alternative plans to accomplish the project.

A beacon is a beacon is a beacon, right?

Our research from last week mostly focused on three aspects: BLE beacon, POS system, and how the mobile app can communicate with the two. And here we would like to talk about the secrets under BLE beacon technology.

How BLE beacon works

Beacons transmit small packets over BLE. BLE messages wake up listeners in BLE devices (e.g., smartphones) to read the packet. Then based on the received signal, the smartphone determines the proximity of the Beacon and takes an action based on the content of the message.

Types of message that beacons can broadcast

Beacons generally broadcast three types of messages: Unique ID number, URL address, and Telemetry. UIUD Contains a unique 16-byte Beacon ID composed of a 10-byte namespace ID and 6-byte instance ID.

Recognizes every particular Beacon across the globe thereby
enabling an application to listen and perform. For a live example, If a brand installs beacons at its stores, then the app could be designed to connect with beacon at its specific store, through the use of beacon ID. Once identified, the brand’s store would be able to send in the customized content or offers to the user.

The second type of broadcast uses a compressed encoding format that picked up by either the physical web app or the google chrome widget. Overcomes Bluetooth Beacon’s obstacle of needing an app.
Stores can send an URL to the user’s phone and users can look up the coupon or information in a web browser. Currently, Chrome is supported, other browsers to follow.

The last type of message contains Telemetry Data (TLM) – Used to pass
on Device Information. It is intended for Beacon fleet management:
• Comprises data about beacon hardware
• Battery Voltage
• Temperature
• Packets/Activity since the last reboot
• Uptime since the last reboot
• Broadcasts less frequently than data packets
• Makes it easier to keep a tab on Beacons health and status

A History Lesson

Apple came up with its Beacons technology (called iBeacon) quietly in 2013
and Google came up with its Eddystone Beacon technology in 2016.
By 2018, Google officially killed Eddystone. iBeacon also disappeared!

So what happened? The reasons behind it are somehow complicated, but in a nutshell: Nearby notifications killed the Physical Web Project. However, this by no means says Beacons are gone away. We will discuss more details about it in our next blog post. If you are eager to know more information, check out this blog post:

Project Introduction

Team BluePay is excited to be working with American Express on a new app that will transform the way customers complete purchases in stores. This app will allow AMEX card members to pay merchants without ever taking out their wallet.

Touchless payment transaction using a mobile app

Typical point of sale (POS) systems support mobile payments with services like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. These services work by using NFC, or near field communication. As the name implies, NFC only works over the short range of 4 centimeters, which is why a customer must bring their phone close to the POS terminal to complete a payment. 

We want to use BLE, or Bluetooth Low Energy, to make the payment process a touchless user experience. Since BLE ranges up to 100 meters, the user can complete the payment from their phone without tapping it on the POS terminal. Potentially, customers can complete transactions using the phone app from anywhere in store.

Our goal is to improve the customer’s experience by making the payment process completely touchless. In addition to focusing on the user experience, we are also emphasizing security, since we will be interacting with payment account information. So far, we’ve started learning about BLE technology and researching different POS systems. We are also thinking about how the payment transaction process will work from the user’s perspective.