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  • Editing Team 18:12 on January 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , QR code   

    Five UK Banks to Launch NFC and QR Payments 


    Five banks in the UK — the UK’s HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank — are going to make NFC and QR code payments available next year to their 18 million UK customers. The payments use an online and in-store mobile payments service that integrates with the banks’ existing mobile apps.

    The banks have all signed up to use Zapp, a mobile payments startup which uses secure digital tokens, which means consumers don’t need to reveal any of their financial details to merchants during a transaction. It is also fully integrated into financial institutions’ mobile banking apps, enabling consumers to see their account balances and select from multiple accounts when they make a purchase.

    “Zapp will go to market with real scale offering simpler, more secure and efficient payments to millions of customers and businesses,” says chief executive Peter Keenan.

  • Editing Team 17:46 on December 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: QR code,   

    2D Barcode or RFID: Which is Better? 

    2D barcode or RFID? That may be the question many companies face when they go to upgrade their item-level product identification systems from 1D barcode.

    Compared with linear 1D codes, both 2D codes and RFID tags represent an enormous technological advance. But as each technology has its pros and cons, the choice is not easy to make. In the end, it usually comes down to the user’s intended application and the kind of information it needs to convey.

    RFID has an advantage over 2D in that it doesn’t require a line of sight for item visibility. With a barcode symbol, however, whether it is 1D or 2D, the scanner must be able to get a bead on the symbol in order to read it. But there is no such requirement with RFID tags — they convey information wirelessly to an interrogator via an antenna.

    Right now, RFID tags are primarily used to provide unique identification for items of fashion apparel or medications. In the case of pharmaceuticals, the tags are deployed to provide traceability, to guard against counterfeiting, and for brand protection, says Michael Liard, vice president at VDC Research. In the case of apparel, the tags are mostly used for inventory control and store visibility.

    Historically, the big impediment to wider adoption of RFID technology has been price — and that’s still the case today. According to the Automatic Identification and Data Capture team at the research firm Frost & Sullivan, so-called passive tags (which rely on an outside source for power) cost between $0.40 and $20 apiece, while active RFID tags (which contain a battery as a power source) go for between $10 and $50.

    On the contrary, it costs just a fraction of a cent to print a 2D barcode on a packaged product. Furthermore, a 2D matrix code allows users to pack a great deal of information into a small space. Because a 2D symbol encodes data on both the X and Y axes, it can store more product data than a conventional linear bar code and, for that matter, most RFID tags can. Among other information, a 2D symbol can encode a product lot number, date of manufacture, expiration date, manufacturer location, and distribution channel.

    Although RFID was originally touted as a high-tech way to monitor supply chain movements, most companies using the technology for item-level tagging do so for reasons other than channel visibility. The primary reason companies opt for RFID-based item-level tagging remains asset management and surveillance. For instance, in a retail store, an RFID tag can trigger an alarm if a shoplifter attempts to walk out the door with the merchandise.

    “If you can get a line of sight, then the default goes to a 2D barcode because ink on paper is pretty inexpensive,” says Rick Bushnell, president of the consulting firm Quad II. Other experts don’t see the two technologies as an either-or proposition. They believe there’s room for both, depending on the intended use. “While 2D barcodes may be a barrier for RFID in some applications, we expect both 2D barcodes and RFID to coexist for the most part,” said Frost & Sullivan.

  • Editing Team 18:15 on July 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Spanish Hotel Provides Information to Guests via NFC 


    The Aimia Hotel in the resort of Port de Sóller, Mallorca, is using NFC to provide information on local services to guests via a tap of a mobile phone.

    A printed panel containing NFC tags, designed and managed by NFC and social media solutions provider GeoCrono, has been placed in the hotel’s reception area. Guests can tap to access information about public transport, places to visit and weather forecasts as well as downloadable maps, the hotel’s Wi-Fi password and its restaurant menu.

    The panel is expected to reduce “cost and unnecessary queues at reception”, GeoCrono says, and “enhance the guest experience.” The panel also includes QR codes for guests without NFC phones.

  • Editing Team 15:07 on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , QR code   

    Topps Adds NFC to Its Baseball Cards 

    Topps-NFC-baseball-card-rfid-blogTrading card maker Topps is adding NFC tags and QR codes to its baseball cards at the 2013 MLB All-Star FanFest event, enabling more than 100,000 attendees to touch or scan giant baseball cards featuring Major League Baseball All-Stars for a chance to win a range of prizes.

    “Topps is always looking for ways to innovate and to enhance the collector’s experience,” says Marc Stephens, Topps’ marketing manager. “Working with Scanbuy on this promotion at FanFest is a great way for us to test a new way to do so.”

    Topps is using Scanbuy’s ScanLife platform to deliver the promotion. “This is a great opportunity to show how effective an event marketing campaign can be when using mobile engagement technologies like NFC and QR codes,” says Mike Wehrs, CEO and president of Scanbuy.

  • Editing Team 16:37 on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    French Restaurants Enable Diners to Access Reviews Online via NFC RFID 

    French-restaurant-NFC-access-reviews-ratings-rfid-blogMore than 1,500 restaurants throughout France have allowed diners to use their mobile phones and RFID stickers to view reviews and write ratings.

    The RFID solution, developed by Cityvox and Orange, consists of NFC passive RFID stickers attached at restaurant entrances, as well as software that directs a consumer’s NFC-enabled mobile phone to a website listing content for that specific restaurant, based on the sticker’s ID number. In case a customer’s phone is not equipped with NFC RFID readers, each sticker also comes with a QR code printed on the front that consumers can utilize to access the same information.

    The solution also includes NFC-enabled guest receipt folders that waiters and waitresses can provide to guests at the end of their meal, when they pay their check. The folders have a built-in NFC tag that users can read via their phone, in order to access a website at which they can then post reviews of their own meals without leaving the table.

    Cityvox operates a network of websites offering local content throughout France, that feature ratings for the most popular restaurants, as well as reviews posted by the public. Last year, the firm opted to try using NFC technology to make it easier for the public to access that information.

    For Cityvox, the NFC-based solution’s benefits come not only from sales of the receipt folders, but also from publicity generated by the new technology.

  • Editing Team 11:37 on January 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    NFC Will Sweep Away QR Codes 

    NFC-QR-code-rfid-blogNFC (Near Field Communication) is going to change how retailers market to consumers as QR codes never were — just as soon as those consumers learn how it works. Although most Americans may consider NFC the same thing as mobile payments, that’s actually a misconception. Conducting a mobile payment is just one of its functions.

    The technology can be used in one of three ways:

    1. Peer-to-peer communication, as seen in the Samsung commercials, as people touch their phones together to exchange a song or other data.

    2. Secure card emulation, for instance, a hotel keycard with an embedded NFC chip that you tap on the door as opposed to sliding it in and out.

    3. Read/write, a catch-all for exchanging data back and forth.

    As more handset manufacturers release NFC-enabled phones, consumers are becoming more comfortable with the technology and will eventually be well versed in how it works. As this happens, retailers will be able to embed NFC chips into digital signage displays and other marketing materials to interact with their customers, said Mikhail Damiani, CEO of mobile marketing solutions provider Blue Bite.

    “There is a huge opportunity to use NFC to engage customers,” said Daminani, who used the example of an NFC-enabled poster. The customer merely has to tap his phone on it to get the value, which is usually something like a coupon or a piece of information — a much easier way for them to engage than to go through the multistep process of scanning a QR code.

    Some people may not use hard-to-use technologies such as QR codes, for they have to take the time to download the app, wait for it to load and then scan it. They might, however, tap their phones on a sign.

    Although the deployment of QR codes has skyrocketed in 2011, consumers are not using them and usage is stuck at about 6.5 percent.

    “Anything that makes you take out your phone, launch the app, wait for it, scan it — most people won’t use it.”

  • Editing Team 21:33 on September 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Omitting NFC in the iPhone 5 could be a Fatal Mistake to Apple 

    iPhone5-NFC-Apple-rfid-blogWhile some time ago, leaked photos of purported iPhone 5 parts showed a mysterious square chip which originally believed to be an NFC chip, not long after that, new rumors suggested that there will be no NFC chip in iPhone 5, since the metal back will seriously block the signal from reaching the chip.

    Right now we don’t know whether the rumors are true or false, however, skipping NFC in the iPhone 5 will cost Apple dearly.

    Above all, NFC plays an important role in mobile payments. Although there are two potential alternatives — Bluetooth Low-Energy and QR code based tokens, neither of them are as fast and convenient as NFC. Replacing wallets with something digital is just a matter of time, for people are always seeking more convenient, efficient and secure ways to pay. Thus, using smartphones would be a good choice. With a big name, Apple could be the choice of most people.

    Although NFC is still far from prevalent for the time being, Apple has the power to make it mainstream. Apple already has over 400 million active credit card accounts on file, so if Apple’s users link them to a mobile payment system tied to the iPhone, it would greatly push forward the technology.

    Using NFC payments would work like direct mobile billing, allowing you to charge a payment to your mobile account which then appears on your monthly carrier bill. Apple could do something similar with iTunes, so that users can charge anything from gas to groceries to the credit card on file in their iTunes account.

    Apple now has at least 6 patents related to mobile payments, but the company has indicated that it plans to move slowly on mobile payments. It seems Apple likes to let its competitors do their market research for them.

    However, doing so requires Apple a lot of money. Why would Apple intentionally avoid such a lucrative business when it already has 250 million iPhones in people’s pockets and 400 million credit cards on file?

    All in all, omitting NFC in the iPhone 5 could be a fatal mistake for Apple. It would lag it a year behind Android devices that already contain NFC functionality and severely cripple Apple’s promising PassBook app in iOS 6.

    But maybe there’s still hope. Whether Apple will respond to the majority’s expects or go its own way, let’s just wait for the final answer.

  • Editing Team 07:27 on September 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    LevelUp Deploys NFC in Advance of Reported iPhone 5 Launch 

    LevelUp-NFC-hardware-iPhone5-rfid-blogLevelUp is adding NFC support to its free mobile payments solution, debuting new hardware for merchants, and allowing them to make payments using any NFC-enabled phone, the Boston-based startup announced on Sept. 6th. This addition to its technology is a clear move to compete with its competitor ISIS, which already uses NFC technology in its carrier-backed mobile payments solution.

    LevelUp CEO Seth Priebatsch said in an interview that NFC support is something they’ve been planning for a while, and even though it hasn’t been confirmed that the new iPhone 5 will support it (we’ll likely find out on September 12th), they felt now was the time to add it in. “I’m not convinced NFC will be mainstream in six months, but I do think it will 3-5 years,” Priebatsch said in an interview. “NFC is a good technology, and it’s going to be around for a while. But if it doesn’t pick up momentum, something else will, so our new hardware can be easily upgraded to support other forms of payment.”

    Even if the new iPhone doesn’t include NFC, anyone with an NFC-enabled Android phone will still be able to use the new hardware to pay. Priebatsch said, if another technology like Bluetooth 4.0 becomes popular, merchants can open up the new terminal and replace the chip. He said that the ultimate goal is to integrate with whatever method consumers want to use to pay. “Our new NFC hardware is part of our approach to be able to integrate with whatever is out there and make LevelUp work for everyone.”

    To take advantage of the new system, consumers will have to download the LevelUp app for Android or iPhone, link their credit or debit card to their account, and can get a QR code they can scan at any supported merchant, or pay via NFC by tapping their phone on the new counter-top hardware for merchants.

    LevelUp recently cut its merchant fees, in order to compete against mobile payments leaders Square and PayPal. It is also working on building out their partnerships. Although it might not have big-name partnerships like Square’s recent Starbucks announcement, the company is willing to do whatever it takes to compete in the mobile payments arena. With 250,000 active users who are spending a total of $2 million a month, and one million transactions processed since launch, the company seems to be on the right track.

  • Editing Team 16:52 on September 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Sydney’s the Rocks Set to Deploy NFC Technology 

    Sydney-The-Rocks-NFC-rfid-blogIn the near future, visitors to Sydney’s the Rocks will be able to use their NFC-enabled smartphones to learn history of the popular tourist attraction.

    The Rocks is the world’s first heritage precinct to offer visitors an interactive tour via cell phones, claims Andrew Stoner, the deputy premier of New South Wales (NSW). “With just a simple tap of their mobile phone, visitors will be taken on a journey through laneways of the Rocks,” he says, “along cobblestone streets, and up and down sandstone steps, to reveal fascinating stories of families, friends, convicts and colonists.”

    NFC technology provider Tapit provided the NFC technology, combining both NFC-enabled passive smart stickers and QR codes in 37 historic locations within the Rocks. The stickers employ Mifare 13.56 MHz NFC chips which comply with the ISO14443 standard.

    Tapit’s chief executive Jamie Conyngham says that affixing NFC tags to the sites allows tourists to instantly download information, graphics and videos they want, with just a tap of their phone on the plaques and plinths, thus enhancing the experience. The technology was easy to roll out.

    When a visitor taps his/her NFC-enabled smartphone against the sticker, it matches a unique code linked to that particular location, so that the appropriate content will be sent directly to the user’s mobile phone. Besides, those lacking an NFC-enabled smartphone can scan a graphic, printed with a QR code, which then direct them to the appropriate content.

    “Because our servers match the appropriate codes and direct it to the mobile phone, it is very simple to change content when necessary,” Conyngham states. “If the NSW Government wants to add a new site within the Rocks, or even run its own promotion, it can all be done automatically by Tapit.”

    “Based on current statistics, approximately 25 percent of usage has been via the Tapit NFC technology, with the remaining 75 percent scanning the QR code. This could be due to low market penetration of NFC-enabled phones currently available in Australia. NFC technology does provide a number of opportunities for dissemination of content to visitors in the Rocks. There are plans to enhance the existing content; however, this is scheduled for a time when NFC-enabled phones have higher market penetration.”

    Stoner says, with the new technology, the 14 million tourists who visit the Rocks each year will get a richer experience and be encouraged to spend more time in the precinct. This is just the first stage of technology development within the Rocks, with video, audio and bilingual capabilities planned to follow soon. The tag could also be expanded to tell visitors information about nearby shopping and dining places as well as provide other special offers, such as getting access to social networks, making a purchase or booking.

  • Editing Team 17:28 on August 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    OKSU Can Print Photos with Link to Webpage via NFC 

    OKSU is a digital printer designed by Alex Zhulin, which produces physical connections to what you see online. It was developed as a senior project for the British Higher School of Art & Design in Moscow.

    This mini machine can print off any photo, recipe, or article you wish from the Internet, but it promises to offer much more than just printing services. When you print anything out on the OKSU printer, simply placing it on top of the printer again will re-open the particular webpage on your laptop, phone, or tablet.

    For example, if you print out a photo of your favorite album and embed a link to the music in the image, when you drop the printed version on top of the OKSU, your NFC-enabled device will automatically start to play it. Just like a magic.


    Of course it’s not. Such a thing is made possible because the paper which OKSU prints on has an NFC (Near-field Communication) chip embedded in it. Thus, any device that can read from the chip can instantly open whatever link is embedded.

    What may disappoint you is that OKSU wouldn’t work with normal sheets of paper. Instead, you would have to invest in packs of Z-ink (zero ink) paper and they would also have to be a new range of Z-ink sheets that include the necessary NFC chip. But the good news is that this kind of paper has built-in color pigments, which means no ink cartridges are needed.


    Most websites have their own phones apps now and many posters use QR codes to open up webpages, but this printer requires no scanning. It’s instant. It also helps that there are growing number of applications for these NFC cards, such as giving away music samples at gigs, adverts in magazines linking to the iPad version, or even a new type of business card that links to your website!

    Sadly this printer is only a concept at the moment, so there’s no word yet on pricing or when it would be available, but the overwhelming interest thus far has given Alex Zhulin the incentive to move forward with the project. As long as the printer and the Z-ink paper aren’t too expensive, this little gadget could hit the market.

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