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German Commercial Roll Out of Near Field Communication (NFC) Technology Simplifies Travel for Consumers


April 25, 2006

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April 26, 2006 Nokia, Royal Philips Electronics, Vodafone and the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV), the regional public transport authority for the Region Frankfurt Rhine-Main in Germany, have announced that following a successful ten-month field trial, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology will be deployed in a commercial environment. Nokia 3220 mobile phones with integrated NFC technology can now be used as electronic bus tickets and act as loyalty cards for discounts at local retail outlets and attractions. The 95,000 residents of Hanau can now enjoy the ease and convenience of NFC for mobile ticketing in public transportation, simply with the swipe of their compatible phones. Most people have their mobile phone with them wherever they go, so the possibility to use the phone to conduct daily transactions, such as transport ticketing and access to services, adds great value for consumers. The NFC enabled Nokia 3220 mobile phones have been tested by 160 residents for use in the public bus system in the city of Hanau. At the end of the trial, more than 90% of the trial participants considered this a positive, convenient system worth continuing.

Local Vodafone shops will offer the NFC-enabled Nokia 3220 handsets immediately for sale, allowing passengers to hold their mobile phones close to the reading device to enter and disembark from a city bus in Hanau. At the end of the month, the customers will receive an invoice from the local public transport operator outlining all trips taken, and the costs, which are calculated using the best available fares at the time of travel.

The results of the RMV trial clearly demonstrate that consumers like the simplicity of using NFC for secure payment and ticketing for public transportation in a real-city environment. As a key technology and market driver for NFC, all parties are extremely pleased to see the world’s first commercial rollout in Germany. The strong collaboration to deliver on the promise of the technology was key to the consumer acceptance. Technology should be easy to use and make people’s lives simpler and more enjoyable. With the commercial rollout of NFC in a variety of applications, the promise is being realized.

In addition to public transport ticketing, a newly introduced local leisure card - the “RMV-ErlebnisCard Hanau” loyalty card - will be incorporated into the NFC-enabled phones. This feature will enable mobile phones to receive discounts at RMV’s 14 selected retail partners in the area including restaurants, shops and local attractions.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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