O2 runs retail trial of NFC mobile payment system
The UK mobile network operator O2's first consumer trial of near field communications (NFC) is to see the technology, provided by Innovision Research & Technology, being used by 500 selected subscribers who have been supplied with Nokia 6131 NFC-enabled handsets and NFC tags.
The trial, which began recently in London and continues for six months, will enable mobile phone subscribers to put NFC to the test in the real world.
NFC's main benefits The technology is being adopted enthusiastically by the mobile community because of the huge benefits around cashless payments, ticketing and peer-to-peer communication, as well as applications like smart posters that provide easy access to relevant information when and where you need it just by touching the tags with a phone.
The Topaz tags, provided to trial participants in a "virtual wallet", have been pre-programmed with information such as partner website addresses and telephone numbers, and consumers can also programme in others of their own choice.
Letting the customer loose Ken Robertson, who manages the Contactless Tags and Ticketing business at Innovision Research & Technology, said that the company believes that the most interesting aspect of the trial will be seeing how consumers programme the tags and what innovative uses they can find for them. Innovision provided programming help to participants over the course of the six-day launch period.
The company has also been actively encouraging design engineers to come up with other innovative NFC tag applications with the help of its recently launched UK NFC Innovation Awards, which are due to be judged in December 2007.
"We've already seen a range of interesting uses for NFC tags coming out over recent months, including devices that can describe aloud supermarket product information, accessed via tags, to partially sighted individuals, and pre-programmed tags stuck on fridge doors so children can just touch a tag with a mobile device to let mum know that they're home," noted Robertson.