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NTT to trial technology that stores loyalty cards on mobile phones

NTT’s new patent pending Key-Shuttle platform enables loyalty points, ID photos and other membership information from over a hundred retailers to all be registered and accessed from a customers’ mobile phone.

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NTT's Gyazapo can replace multiple loyalty cards on an NFC-enabled mobile phone

Japanese telecoms giant NTT Communications has developed a system that securely integrates the reward cards of more than 100 retailers into a single mobile phone. “Users can easily register, access or overwrite membership and loyalty data just by waving their mobile phone, equipped with a contactless IC chip, over a terminal in a retail shop,” the company says:

The system, named “Gyazapo” (pronounced “gah-zah-poh”), frees users from carrying and searching through multiple rewards cards while shopping. By simply waving their phone over the terminal, they can enjoy the convenience and benefits of shopping with membership services, including customer rewards and discounts.

Gyazapo is also a green system that helps to save natural resources by eliminating the need for traditional plastic cards.

Key-Shuttle (Japanese and international patents pending) is the NTT Com-developed technology that integrates the information in the phone. Once a dedicated application is downloaded into the phone, Key-Shuttle enables loyalty points, ID photos and other membership information of multiple retailers to be registered under a single platform.

The system includes features for security and privacy, such as unauthorized access detection and user-required permission before a retailer can share membership information with other retailers. Reward cards registered in Gyazapo are more difficult to duplicate or falsify than traditional plastic cards, making this a more secure system for loyalty programs.

The Gyazapo system is to go on trial from February to June 2009 with participants including major Japanese retailers Bic Camera, Nojima and Runsystem. No details yet on the technical architecture of Key-Shuttle, but compatibility with mobile subsidiary NTT DoCoMo’s Osaifu-Keitai service (which runs on Sony’s FeliCa chip and is, therefore, itself compatible with NFC specifications) seems likely.

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