June 08, 2011

NFC room keys find favour with hotel guests

Guests at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm said using an NFC-enabled phone to check in, enter their room and check out made their stay more pleasant, saved time and inspired them to use the service again.

NFC room keys find favour with hotel guests • NFC World

By Christopher Brown | June 8th, 2011

Guests at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm said using an NFC-enabled phone to check in, enter their room and check out made their stay more pleasant, saved time and inspired them to use the service again.

HOTEL: 'Mobile keys are a great way to enhance the guest experience'
A survey of participants in the world's first trial of using NFC phones to replace hotel room keys has found that almost all the guests would use NFC keys for their hotel stays if the technology was available today.

The pilot at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm began in November 2010 and was organised by physical access control giant Assa Abloy, Choice Hotels Scandinavia, mobile network operator TeliaSonera, hotel door key specialists VingCard Elsafe and Giesecke & Devrient's TSM solutions unit Venyon.

Some thirty frequent guests at the hotel received an NFC-enabled Samsung S5230 mobile phone. They could then book their hotel room in the usual way and receive confirmation on the mobile phone. Ahead of their arrival at the hotel, they received a welcome message and a reminder to check in to their room via their mobile phone. Once checked in using an app on the phone, their hotel room key was sent to the device over-the-air, enabling them to go straight to their room without checking in at the front desk.

At the end of their stay, guests checked out with their NFC phone by touching it to RFID tags located around the hotel or via the mobile key application on their handset. The digital hotel room key stored in the phone was then automatically deactivated.

The eight month trial has now been completed and the results show that:

Not having to wait in line at the reception to check in and check out was highly appreciated by all participants.
Almost all of the guests said that they saved time by not having to check in at the reception, with more than half adding they saved 10 minutes or more.

Almost all of the participants would use mobile keys for their hotel stays if NFC-compatible cell phones were widely available today and their phone supported the service.

Significantly, Assa Abloy says a broad majority of the guests claimed the service made their hotel stay more pleasant.

"This shows that technology that helps people save time will be appreciated and used," said Daniel Berg, vice president and general manager of mobile keys at Assa Abloy. "The pilot also confirms that using mobile keys to open all kinds of doors will be one of the most popular NFC applications."

When asked what other NFC applications they believed would be useful, most of the guests earmarked paying for food, drink and hotel services. A majority also said getting information about the hotel and hotel services such as a map, room service menus, the spa and gym and information about restaurants, bars and public transport were of value.

"Mobile keys are a great way to enhance the guest experience and add value to hotel loyalty applications, also it is environmentally friendly," said Marcus Majewski, the hotel's general manager. "We get a closer relationship with our guests and can add information on promotions and events. The survey shows that 60% are positive to getting information about hotel offerings using the service.

NFC room keys find favour with hotel guests • NFC World

Posted by staff at 06:52 AM

September 29, 2009

VISA mobile contactless trials expand

Mobile contactless pilot gets started in Italy with VISA. Nokia mobile phone is payment means.

28 September 2009 - 13:41
Mobile debit payments go on trial in Italy

Italy's Credito Valtellinese is to conduct the first European trial of Visa's V Pay contactless debit product using Nokia mobile phones.

The small scale trial is an extension of the Tellcard initiative in the North Italian province of Sondrio, which uses contactless technology to enable payments of up to EUR15 on Credito Valtellinese V Pay cards.

Fifty Credito Valtellinese employees will be given a Nokia mobile phone equipped with the Tellcard Mobile V Pay contactless application which can be used to make purchases at 180 locations in the northern cities of Sondrio, Chiavenna, Morbegno, Tirano and Bormio. Mobile payments can be made using the same contactless acceptance infrastructure already deployed for the Tellcard V Pay project.

Davide Steffanini, general manager Visa Europe in Italy, comments: "Our vision is to put payment tools in the pockets of every Italian consumer - whether on the cards they use today or the mobiles they already carry with them tomorrow. This collaboration is an important step towards making the vision a reality".

Elsewhere in Europe Visa also has contactless card programmes in the UK, Turkey, and Poland and contactless card pilots in France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. There are Visa mobile contactless pilots in France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

Posted by staff at 08:08 AM

April 30, 2008

NFC Forum Announces Winners

Overall winner -- VingCard -- By securely sending a text message to the guest's NFC-enabled mobile phone with the encrypted key, together with the hotel information and room number, it allows guests to go straight to their rooms without having to go through the check-in/check-out process. At checkout, guests use their NFC-enabled mobile phones to check out directly through the NFC-enabled TV in the room or the NFC-enabled automatic check-in/check-out kiosk. Guests receive their invoices either through text message or printed out at the check-out kiosk. Full release follows.

NFC Forum : NFC Forum Announces Winners of Touching the Future Global Competition

For release: 30 Apr 2008
NFC Forum Announces Winners of Touching the Future Global Competition
VingCard Elsafe and Lancaster University Earn Top Awards at WIMA in Monaco

The NFC Forum (www.nfc-forum.org), a non-profit industry association that advances the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, today announced the winners of its Touching the Future: NFC Forum Global Competition.

In the competition, developers in a Commercial Track vied for the honor of having their solutions named "The Best NFC Service of the Year 2008," while a Research Track recognized "The Most Innovative NFC Research Project of the Year 2008." First-, second- and third-place winners in each track were chosen by a jury composed of senior and recognized professionals and experts from academia and sponsoring companies. The winners were selected from a total of 20 finalists and over 50 entries from 21 countries. The competition finalists demonstrated their entries at the NFC Developers Summit taking place this week at WIMA in Monaco. The winning entries were announced last night at the competition awards ceremony.

The first-place winner in the Commercial Track is VingCard Elsafe of Norway for its "Signature RFID by VingCard - Electronic Lock for Hotels." This solution enables hotel guests with NFC-enabled mobile phones to completely bypass the check-in process and unlock their hotel room doors using their phones.

The first-place winner in the Research Track is Lancaster University of the UK for "Touch & Interact: Applied to a Tourist Guide Prototype." This project uses NFC technology to allow mobile phone handsets and public information screens to share display space, thereby overcoming the screen size limitations of mobile phone displays.

"We congratulate VingCard and Lancaster University for prevailing against dozens of very competitive solutions submitted this year," said Gerhard Romen, NFC Forum vice chairman. "Both winning submissions demonstrate how effective NFC technology can be in supporting creative, yet simple and elegant, solutions to real-world problems from unlocking hotel doors to enhancing users' interactions with their mobile phones."

The second-place winner in the Commercial Track is Hansaprint of Finland for its "TagAge" solution. Teliasonera of Sweden took third place for "Telia Kvittens."

In the Research Track, University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis MBDS of France came in second for "Ticket Tap" while third place was awarded to Austria's University of Applied Sciences for its "Theft Deterrent System for Skis."

The NFC Forum Global Competition promotes the development and deployment of innovative and exemplary NFC services. The Commercial Track is for NFC services based on a business case; the Research Track is for university students and Research institutions. Both Tracks require a prototype.

Commercial Track entries are evaluated on how successfully and innovatively they meet the needs of key vertical market segments, as well as quality of design and implementation. Research Track submissions are judged on creativity and innovativeness.

VingCard Elsafe, the Commercial Track winner, introduced its Signature RFID electronic lock for hotels in June 2006. It is compatible with ISO 14443 A (MIFARE), 14443 B, and 15693, and is also NFC-compatible. Therefore, NFC-enabled mobile phones can work as RFID carriers to open Signature RFID by VingCard electronic locks. By offering this service, hotels benefit from: significant improvement in guest service perception; and increased turnover and bottom line results through higher direct sales at higher margin. By securely sending a text message to the guest's NFC-enabled mobile phone with the encrypted key, together with the hotel information and room number, it allows guests to go straight to their rooms without having to go through the check-in/check-out process. At checkout, guests use their NFC-enabled mobile phones to check out directly through the NFC-enabled TV in the room or the NFC-enabled automatic check-in/check-out kiosk. Guests receive their invoices either through text message or printed out at the check-out kiosk. Guests can also receive updates to their hotel loyalty membership cards via text message.

Touch & Interact, the Research Track winner from Lancaster University, addresses the limited output capabilities of mobile phones, which are an ongoing issue for mobile application developers. For this reason, current mobile phones may still fail to fully address the requirements of map, multimedia and information browsing applications. Touch & Interact is an NFC interaction technique that utilizes the capabilities of mobile phones and the screen size of public displays. Using the Touch & Interact interaction technique, an NFC phone can touch the display at any position in order to perform selections. During the interaction, both the phone display and public display share the display space. The shared display space is especially useful for separation of public and private information by presenting sensitive information on the phone display. In addition to an auxiliary display, the phone provides extra modalities (e.g. joystick and keypad), storage and additional feedback (audio and haptic).

Gold sponsors of the competition are NFC Forum members Nokia, Over-C and SCM Microsystems. Silver sponsors are NFC Forum members Innovision Research & Technology plc, Inside Contactless, Stollman E+V GmbH and WIMA.

About the NFC Forum
The NFC Forum, www.nfc-forum.org, was launched as a non-profit industry association in 2004 by leading mobile communications, semiconductor and consumer electronics companies. The Forum's mission is to advance the use of Near Field Communication technology by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services, and educating the market about NFC technology. The Forum's 150+ global member companies currently are developing specifications for a modular NFC device architecture, and protocols for interoperable data exchange and device-independent service delivery, device discovery, and device capability.

The NFC Forum's Sponsor members, which hold seats on the Board of Directors, include leading players in key industries around the world. The Sponsor members are: HP, MasterCard International, Microsoft Corp., NEC, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Inc., NXP Semiconductors, Panasonic, Renesas Technology, Samsung, Sony Corporation, and Visa International.

About Nokia
Nokia is the world leader in mobility, driving the transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries. Nokia makes a wide range of mobile devices and provides people with experiences in music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games and business mobility through these devices. Nokia also provides equipment, solutions and services for communications networks.

About Over-C
Over-C is the leading Near Field Communication software company focused on the management of tag events, from tag scan through the back office. Over-C's hosted solutions help companies get the right data to the right person at the right time.

For more information on how your company can be Safe in the Knowledge, visit the Over-C Web site: www.over-c.com.

About SCM Microsystems, Inc.
SCM Microsystems is a leading supplier of solutions that open the Digital World by enabling people to conveniently access digital content and services. The company develops, markets and sells the industry's broadest range of smart card reader technology for secure PC, network and physical access and digital media readers for transfer of digital content to OEM customers in the government, financial, enterprise, consumer electronics and photographic equipment markets worldwide. Global headquarters are in Ismaning, Germany. For additional information, visit the SCM Microsystems Web site at www.scmmicro.com.

About Innovision Research & Technology plc
Innovision Research & Technology plc, is leading the next generation of NFC/RFID solutions. As the leading fabless developer of short-range data communication semiconductor and system solutions, with particular focus on NFC/RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and ultra low-cost Integrated Circuit (IC) and RF electronic design, IRT is pushing cost performance to enable clients to get maximum utility for minimum cost.

The company develops innovative semiconductor technologies, ICs, RF systems (HF/UHF) and complete end product applications for mass volume commercialisation and then licenses customers for its incorporation into their own products.

At the heart of the emerging Near Field Communication market, Innovision R&T designs and develops NFC/RFID IC solutions for the global mobile handset and consumer device sectors.

Products include Topaz, mandated by the NFC Forum as the NFC number one tag type format, Jewel for mass transit ticketing applications, and io, the world's smallest standards compatible Near-Field RFID reader.

Headquartered in the UK, Innovision R&T was listed in 2001 on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: INN).
Visit: www.innovision-group.com for further details.

About Inside Contactless
As the only fabless semiconductor company focused exclusively upon contactless chip platforms, INSIDE Contactless is a market leader in Near Field Communication, contactless payments, and access control. Innovation in contactless technology has led to more than 55 patents granted to INSIDE, including several essential NFC technology patents. INSIDE is the #1 market share provider of contactless bank card technology in the world, with more than 35 million MicroPass intelligent payment platforms delivered from launch in 2005 through 2007. MicroPass, the 2007 Sesames "Best Hardware" award winner, powers cards issued by more than 20 global bank card issuers. Globally, more than 25 key partners, including major card manufacturers and handset providers, have successfully delivered contactless products such as payment & access cards, point of sale terminals, and NFC enabled mobile handsets which are 'powered by INSIDE'. INSIDE Contactless is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence, France, with offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Poland, San Francisco, and Boston. For more information, please visit www.insidecontactless.com.

About Stollman E+V GmbH
Stollmann, www.stollmann.de, based in Hamburg, Germany, is one of the leading developers and suppliers of standard products and licensed products for communications technologies such as NFC, Bluetooth, xDSL, GPRS, and ISDN. Stollmann's team of 40 specialists develops protocol stacks, reference designs, and modules. Stollmann provides a NFC upper layer stack and JSR-257 API for mobile phones, PDAs and smart phones, a NFC upper layer stack and NFC API for embedded devices and a NFC evaluation kit, featuring an easy-to-use interface, USB reader, and NFC tags, all complying with the most recent NFC Forum standards. The evaluation kit lets you test-drive standardized near field communication with contactless chip cards and RFID tags. Stollmann has developed the first peer-to-peer mode stack compliant to the NFC Forum specification. It allows to interconnect two NFC-enabled devices for active data transfer. Target applications are mobile payment, ticketing, access control, simple configuration.

About WIMA
WIMA is a Conference and Exhibition based in Monaco presenting the European NFC Developers Summit (Grimaldi Forum, 28 - 30 April 2008) and hosting the Touching the Future: NFC Forum Global Competition Finals & Awards Ceremony (April 29, 2008). WIMA is the European NFC industry event bringing together developers, systems integrators, device manufactures and service providers ready to realise the potential of NFC and the multiple business opportunities available with the ever expanding outreach of NFC services into the ecosystem. Presentations and exhibits explore some of the top NFC application areas highlighting what the devices can do today and will do in the future, what you need to know about NFC technology and how to develop NFC applications. For further information, please contact: Joanna Merchie [email protected] +377 93 10 40 57 www.wima-nfc.com.

Posted by staff at 01:55 PM

April 09, 2008

SCM Microsystems now offers 'NFC dongle'

SCM Microsystems has announced the release of its new “NFC dongle.” This is a USB device that connects users’ NFC-enabled mobile devices to their PCs. The new SCM device hopes to bridge the gap between the Web and NFC mobile devices.

SCM Microsystems ‘NFC dongle’ : Contactless News

“…To become firmly established in the (NFC) market, there must be a sufficient number of compelling applications and solutions using NFC technology. Our new dongle enables such applications and fills a need in the market for reliable, secure contactless connectivity devices,” said Felix Marx, Chief Executive Officer of SCM Microsystems.

Users can access and transfer information and data that has been stored in their mobile devices, such as vouchers, coupons, tickets and product details. In addition, the reader can be used for mobile smart-ticketing, data exchange and virtual connections, as well as ticketing and secure payment for public transportation, entertainment and other transactions.

Posted by staff at 10:30 AM

May 29, 2007

Near Field Communications (NFC) Update

Watchers and advocates of new near field communications wonder when it will actually take off and complete the prototype/trial/up-and-coming spin cycle. Looking for ROI is another thread. For reference NFC is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables simple two-way interactions among electronic devices.

source link

By Andy Williams, Contributing Editor

Every time you turn around you see an NFC pilot program cropping up somewhere in the world. What you haven’t seen are many full-scale commercial rollouts. In fact, those could be counted on one hand. Sure, near field communication technology is still relatively new – but in a world where new innovations quickly become yesterday’s news, could NFC be starting to show its age?

Developed by NXP Semiconductors and Sony, NFC is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables simple two-way interactions among electronic devices.

While some industry watchers are suggesting that NFC is slow out of the gate, one research firm has gone so far as to speculate this year is “critical for NFC technology.” New York-based ABI Research predicts that five years from now 20% of mobile handsets – nearly 300 million –will have NFC capability. But that’s down sharply from the 25% by 2010 the firm had earlier projected.

Early “enthusiasm for NFC adoption in handsets – fueled by its functionality and flexibility – has been tempered by the complexity of the ecosystem,” the company said in a statement released to promote this latest report.

ABI claims that NFC will not become widely available in handsets until wireless operators are confident that they will see a clear return on their investments, calling mobile operators the “gatekeepers of NFC’s entry into new handsets.”

Others remain upbeat, still bullish on the progress

NXP, one of NFC’s developers, would beg to differ both in the number of handset makers who are getting more involved and in the requisite infrastructure.

“There’s too much on the plate, but that’s fortunate,” said Dave Holmes, NXP business development manager for NFC. “There is so much activity going on with handset integration. There’s been a monumental shift in the level of interest and the work being done. What we’re focused on is the execution stage, making it happen.”

Mr. Holmes said a few “are really pushing, innovating and most likely will be the first out of the gate with NFC handsets. Others are sitting back and waiting to see. The good news is that some of the leaders are some of the biggest names in the business. You’ve seen some of the trial activity, Cingular in Atlanta, and the New York City transit trial.” Many handset makers are beginning to get involved. “It’s kind of a who’s who of handset makers and carriers,” said Mr. Holmes. Added to the mix are Visa in Atlanta and MasterCard in New York, he points out.

He said the first commercial rollout in Hanau, Germany, for transit, “proves that (NFC) works and users really liked it and wanted it. What I think will be the next big thing to make it explode are payment applications in the U.S. and transportation applications in Asia.”

Most of the trial activity so far has been with low-end or mid-tier phones. “That’s designed to test it with mainstream users. It’s not something that requires a professional user,” said Mr. Holmes.

He added, “from my perspective, we don’t need to go much further. Now that it’s chugging away, we’ve settled into our core competency, hardware and software.”

New specs refine tag formats, define peer to peer communication, and more

The NFC Forum was created in 2004 and has grown to more than 110 members, including leading mobile communications, semiconductor and consumer electronics companies. The forum’s mission is to advance NFC use by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services, and educating the market.

Martin Buehrlen, NFC program manager for NXP and secretary of the NFC Forum, said that while the organization has already created some up-front specs designed to encourage NFC implementation, its work is far from done.

“We’re finalizing a few more technical specifications regarding support for the tag formats (the tags go on smart posters and coupons to be read by NFC-enabled devices). There was an announcement a year or so ago saying that there’s a list of tags which are readily available in the market and that NFC Forum supports these tag formats,” said Mr. Buehrlen. “These are easy and cost-effective with existing solutions so manufacturers don’t have to make new transponders with NFC,” he added. Bottom line is that “the NFC Forum decided to be compliant with existing tag formats.” These specs are already in the voting process and should be ready soon.

“Other specifications being worked on are focusing on the peer to peer communication between NFC devices and mode switching, utilizing an internal switch so the device can operate in several modes -– card emulation mode, card reader mode, peer to peer mode,” he added. “They’re on the schedule (for adoption) this year. We also need to provide the test specs for all the other specifications available in order to establish the compliance program. When you have specs you also need to have a way to test devices in order to make sure they’re compliant.”

The forum doesn’t want the consumer to have to think twice before he whips out his cell phone to make a payment or place it near a smart tag to download some information.

With payments, he said, “in many cases we’re already covered with existing specifications. In some areas this is outside the NFC Forum. What’s covered is the RF (radio frequency) level and the protocols” such as ISO. “ When it comes to higher level protocols and how software works with credit cards, those (protocols) are available from Visa and MasterCard and others.”

Where the NFC Forum is involved, he added, is with the communication from the NFC chip to the smart chip in the mobile phone. “This is being worked on now but it’s not something that’s waiting for implementation because Visa already has a system with NFC in New York and it’s running based on existing technologies, no new specifications,” said Mr. Buehrlen.

In search of ROI

In answer to ABI Research’s comment about a business case for NFC, Mr. Buehrlen says, “there are a lot of business models which are possible with NFC but it does require a certain investment by the companies who want to benefit. If you want to do payment with NFC you need to have an investment in payment terminals. If you want to have a revenue stream (a mobile operator, for example) with respect to downloadable content, then the infrastructure for the consumer to pick up this location-based content needs to be established. The same goes for advertising. When you use NFC in combination with smart posters and product info, you need to build up a certain infrastructure. This is a very normal situation in new technologies.”

He said it would help “if more companies would decide to go for a bigger rollout and a faster rollout then what we have seen so far.”

He cites, as an example, Japan, that has shown that such business models pay off. “More companies are jumping on the train with public transport tickets. There are a lot of payment schemes and loyalty schemes and voucher applications. There are several public transport operators using the mobile phone for not only transit, but for numerous loyalty schemes. Small stores, not chains, but individual restaurants, can have their own loyalty schemes based on this. It’s proof that you can make money with this kind of technology.”

Shortage of handsets and models continues, but help is on the way

“The variety of different mobile phones with NFC support at this time are not sufficient (when compared to) what consumers are used to getting when they go into a store to select a phone,” says Mr. Buehrlen, “but this is really increasing and improving.”

He cites the forum’s increasing membership as an example. “A lot of cell phone manufacturers are members, including a lot of the big ones. Research in Motion (RIM), Blackberry inventor, has come aboard. “The very encouraging part is that so many companies which are in the business of mobile devices are members.”

One of the founding members of the NFC Forum and one of the leaders in producing NFC-compatible phones is Nokia, which, earlier this year, released its latest phone, the 6131, at the Consumer Electronics Show. Attendees got a chance to view its use, including swapping business cards by tapping two NFC phones together, buying coffee, and more.

Calling the 6131 an extremely positive development for NFC, NXP’s Mr. Holmes states, “from my point of view, at least from the U.S. development stage, it gives carriers an option with a nice looking, high end, full featured phone.”

He adds, “major carriers can request a phone and have it pretty quickly. It opens doors to some of these smaller carriers to have an NFC phone option.”

Gerhard Romen, head of marketing development for Nokia in Finland, said the 6131 is a mass volume device. “Going from pilot to deployment will only happen step by step. We see a three to five year development period. We’ll start in high density areas and evolve from there.”

Nokia views the phone as a mini computer

Mr. Romen said he was in a meeting recently with about 100 people. “I asked everyone if they had a mobile phone and for how long. Most started between 1994 and 1998. The prime application was voice but there has been a huge evolution with texting, SMS, Web browsers, then the introduction of Java on mobile phones. From Nokia’s point of view, the phone is now a mini computer with a full-blown operating system with a keyboard. There are more than two billion users globally who now have Internet connections … they can use eBay. All of a sudden you have much more than a phone.”

He added: “From our heritage at Nokia, we focused on a simple user interface. That’s what brought us into NFC. Back in 2001 we studied user behavior. We felt this touch and point was a powerful thing, not intrusive, something you could do (and) if we combined the phone capabilities with that touch paradigm … that would be powerful. We looked at other technologies, including bar codes, and ended up with NFC.”

Mr. Romen is obviously excited about the potential applications for NFC. “Visa and MasterCard are working with Nokia to make the phone a fully functional credit card. Just tap, and you’ve paid,” he says. But it “offers more than just your credit card. You can confirm the payment before it happens, or you can check your balance first before you make payment.”

In the U.S., he points out, the contactless infrastructure is already there. “We’re just complementing or replacing it. Then you add things like posters or a contact point on your washing machine where you could view the manual on how to operate it, again the touch paradigm, or open hotel doors with your phone. You’re already pre-booked, you have your key on your phone and you can go straight to your room. Airlines could also do that with check-in.”

He uses an analogy to explain NFC’s future. “Think about the key you use for your car … you know you have to insert it under your steering wheel and turn it. Have you ever wondered how many things start happening when you turn the key? The engine and all its moving parts, start up. If you have GPS, it starts. All that is simplicity. You turn it on and it is all available. That’s similar to what we’re trying to do with NFC.”

Posted by staff at 07:24 AM