Recent NFC news and links

Some recent news and links:

The Daily Telegraph reports that the London Oyster card may soon offer NFC at least in a trial form:

“Mobile phone companies Orange, O2 and Nokia are in talks with Transport for London about using phones instead of Oyster Cards to pay for tube tickets [...] O2 is talking to Tube managers about trialling the technology with visitors to the Millennium Dome [...] Transys, the consortium which installed and operates the Oyster card system in London, has already opened its network to Barclaycard. Within a year, new cards issued by the bank will be able to pay for Tube journeys.”

The suggestion of more trials will be worrisome to some, who have seen many NFC trials take place with no firm commitments to commercialisation.

Yet the problems implementing mobile payments are becoming clear, and not just from an infrastructure perspective. Critical interaction design problems are also becoming clear: mobile payments don’t yet offer a compelling experience beyond using a credit card:

“Rules adopted by the payment card organizations allowing U.S. consumers to make low-value purchases without signing receipts, tapping cards or other tokens to pay is not appreciably faster or more convenient than swiping the cards at the point of sale.”

And in Japan, Mobile Suica has been doing less well than expected, with only 350,000 people signed up:

“The registration process has been difficult for many prospective users, acknowledges Akio Shiibashi, director of the Suica Systems Department at JR East. “Membership is a little complicated, so we need to make it simpler,” he says. “The digital ticketing function has not materialized.”

Nonetheless Slashphone reports on the latest NFC developments from Japan including interfaces for ATMs, taxis, restaurants and petrol stations.

New FeliCa interfaces

“More Near Field Communication (NFC) tests are going on around the world, Japan is advancing to their very own NFC v2.0 and expand into more services. Several companies are presenting their new Felica chip. The new contactless chipset has bigger memory capacity and double the transmission speed (424kbps). Here are some of the demonstration of the possible NFC usage in Tokyo. You can use your NFC enabled mobile phone as a ATM card. Once you place your NFC enabled mobile phone on the ATM machine, the machine will recognize your identity and read the security information from your phone directly. The security information sent to the ATM machine includes your bank account ID, maximum cash out per day and other customize settings depends on different banks [...] The biggest advantage of using the NFC enabled mobile phone is up to 6 card information, which means 6 banks can be stored into the phone at a time [...] Japan taxi might soon implement contactless payment in the taxi, letting you bring less cash while you can pay the taxi fee from the stored value or real time transaction.”

At his keynote speech at CHI 2007 Bill Moggridge apparently “showed an entertaining video of a Japanese woman trying to purchase a soft drink with her i-Mode (Cmode) cell phone. This was a usability disaster, and illustrates how the design of many mainstream products is still basically broken.”

Shin’ichi Konomi responded by posting a video of his own mobile-vending machine experience with Suica rather than Cmode: “Incidentally, Cmode doesn’t seem as popular as SUICA vending machines, at least in my area. Here’s me buying a drink (first selected a drink, and then showed my phone).”

It’s worth watching the video to see first-hand what NFC interactions should, or could be like.

Shin’ichi Konomi also reports on a new form of interactive advertising from Suica called SuiPo where subway travellers present their Suica cards to the poster and receive relevant ads on their mobile phones.

Suica interactive advertising

And finally two first hand reports, again from Shin’ichi Konomi, about the experience of using RFID enabled services in Japan. The first is a worrying report about the lack of infrastructure to deal with out of the ordinary problems with RFID, such as the ability to cancel a ticket. The second is a description of the process of buying a movie ticket using an RFID-enabled phone, where RFID ends up being abandoned in favour of a paper ticket.

NFC/RFID and related news and links get published as a regular stream of links here (RSS).

Related things:

  1. Nokia releases first mass-market NFC handset Nokia today announced the 6131 NFC phone, the first integrated NFC handset that will (operators willing) be available to the public. Previously NFC had been confined to ageing handsets like the 5140 and 3220......
  2. NFC in action A video has surfaced from the recent launch of the Nokia 6131 NFC phone at CES. The demo shows some basic functions of touch-based interactions such as using a ‘smart poster’ to make a......
  3. Thoughts on Nokia’s NFC developments On April 15th Nokia announced the 6212 ‘classic’ phone that incorporates Near Field Communication technology. This phone is the fourth NFC-capable phone from Nokia in as many years and it is the first NFC......
  4. Universal design with NFC This is a design brief, one of many themes that the Touch project is investigating. NFC has been suggested as an enabling platform for universal design or design for all. Universal design can be......
  5. iPhone RFID and NFC peripherals We are beginning to see RFID and NFC peripherals beginning to be released for the iPhone. Since our conceptual video prototype of the iPhone object-based media came out in April, we’ve had thousands of......

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  1. By links for 2007-07-01 (Leapfroglog) on 1 July 2007 at 7:26

    [...] Recent NFC news and links · Touch Timo reports on NFC developments around the world. It’s coming fast! (Or actually, it’s already here.) (tags: NFC RFID mobile news) [...]

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