The city of Caen in Normandy, France will today be the setting for a trial of a new promising technology in the mobile telecommunications market: Near Field Communication (NFC).
Jointly developed by Philips and Sony, NFC is a combination of contactless identification and interconnection technologies that enables wireless short-range communication between mobile devices, consumer electronics, PCs and smart objects. Backed by the NFC Forum (Sony, Nokia, Philips, Panasonic, Microsoft, NEC etc), the NFC is an open interface platform that allows automatic set-up of wireless networks, which also works as a virtual connector for existing cellular, Bluetooth and wireless 802.11 devices. The NFC technology combines the functions of a contactless reader, a contactless card and peer-to-peer functionality on a single chip.
With this touch-based technology from Royal Philips Electronics, 200 Caen residents will use mobile phones with an embedded Philips NFC chip as a means of secure payment in selected retail stores, parking facilities and famous tourist sites around town in a six-month trial. For the trial, Philips will work closely with France Telecom R&D, network operator Orange, handset manufacturer Samsung and French retailers Groupe LaSer and Vinci Park.
"The great potential of NFC is being illustrated in Caen where consumers can easily use this touch-based technology to simplify transactions, obtain information and reduce the amount of time spent in queues. NFC will fundamentally change the way consumers use technology and businesses implement it," said Christophe Duverne, Vice President, Philips Semiconductors and Chairman of the NFC Forum. "NFC will have a tremendous impact on our day-to-day lives, and I'm pleased that Philips, France Telecom, Samsung, Groupe LaSer and Vinci Park together have this first broad-scale rollout of NFC possible."
The range of services and applications for NFC-enabled Samsung D500 mobile phones includes:
Retail applications: Groupe Laser chains, which include Monoprix supermarket and Galeries Lafayette will be equipped with NFC payment terminals enabling users to pay at checkout using their NFC-enabled phone.
Car parking access: When users wish to access a car park, they pass their NFC-enabled phone in front of the entrance booth. The car park ticketing application automatically issues a ?virtual? ticket on the mobile phone and debits the cost from the users? season card or pre-paid account when the phone is passed across the terminal at the car park exit.
Tourist services: When an NFC-enabled phone is swiped across information points at landmarks in Caen, a phone call will be made or SMS message received containing interesting tourist information about the site.
Active Posters: During the trial, more applications will be added, including the purchase of mobile phone content such as ringtones and wallpaper through posters around town that have NFC embedded.
The Caen NFC trial is the world's first large scale trial of this emerging technology and will enable direct feedback to be gathered from mobile operators, retailers and consumers.