Project Reference: CS76

Student’s Name: Arshdeep Singh

Project title: Intermediator | Cross-platform application

Course Title: Computer Science

Supervisor’s Name: Dr. Shadi Basurra

This project aims to successfully develop a platform that is trusted by its audience and is utilised to make trades of goods in an entirely secure way. Not only to become an intermediary service that can avoid scams for the buyer, but also to provide a new way of proving the authenticity of the goods being bought, issuing a certificate, ensuring all the users of the platform that they are not being fooled around with some cheap counterfeits. Another aim of this project is to not give exclusivity to a specific mobile platform between Android and iOS as some services usually are available only on one of the two because it’d be too much work to develop two different applications in different languages. However, this project aims to create a unique application that is compatible with all platforms making it accessible from Android, iOS in the form of an application and for any other type of device through the web as a website. This would allow the service to reach a higher audience than it would be ordinarily possible, limiting the service to only one platform.

The e-commerce market is a sector that in the last decade had enormous exponential growth and is still growing steadily at a tremendous rate year by year, especially with the recent pandemic, which in 2020 increased online sales by 46%, considering it the most substantial increase since 2008. While this sector can look advantageous from various angles for humankind, there are also some downsides, such as online scams, fake goods circulation, personal data misuse and unauthorised use of credit cards. This consideration especially highlights problems of credibility between the buyer and seller, which can be solved with an intermediary service in the middle of the two entities. Inside this dissertation are explored and illustrated all the steps and phases required to develop a platform that can act as a middleman between online commerce transactions, provide goods authenticity checks and keep the share of data between the two entities as low as possible, protecting customers privacy. Alongside the development phases of this project is also investigated the possibility of implementing a machine learning program to decrease drastically the number of unauthorised transactions in the platform, only in 2020 $32.39 billions have been lost globally because of fraudulent payments and is projected that in 2027 will be lost around $40.62 billion. While working on this project, it has been apprehended that it’s not entirely efficient to use other public online transaction past data to build a good model able to predict suspicious payments, which means it’s of essential importance to collect as much data as possible for accurate future implementation of this additional feature.

The application is cross-platform and cloud-based. This means that users can access the platform from any device such as Android or ios devices or a browser as a website. The solution developed has features that provide an intermediary between the buyer and seller by re-inventing the normal e-commerce trading experience; another important feature present is the possibility to check the authenticity of the goods for the buyer lowering the possibility of delivering a counterfeit.

Something that could also be of interest, the limitation of data share between the seller and the buyer as the merchants are not given any of the buyer information, as the goods need to be shipped to the app entity first and then forwarded to the customer. This way, the seller does not need to know the buyer’s address.

It has also been covered the possibility to integrate a machine learning solution inside the platform in order to reduce the number of suspicious transactions.

Separately a second application has been developed as well, this helps the staff/admins of the application to manage orders and contact requests.