News in brief from the NFC world and beyond: Twitter and Docomo add 'touch and follow' • Doubletwist shares songs with NFC • Airtag offers P2P loyalty • Lifera and Taztag tie up • Lockitron opens doors with NFC • DPT unveils NFC-enabled car park pay machine • SK C&C USA rebrands as CorFire • Bayer puts antennas into decorative films • Mobey Forum expands • and much more...
Twitter and Docomo to add 'touch and follow' feature: NTT Docomo is to enable subscribers to follow each other on Twitter by simply touching together their mobile phones. The 'touch and follow' feature is due to arrive on feature phones this summer and smartphones later this year or in early 2012.
Doubletwist shares songs via NFC: Android music streaming service Doubletwist has added DoubleTap, a feature that allows users with NFC phones to share songs and video by simply touching two phones together. The Doubletwist app is available for free on Android Market.
Airtag offers P2P loyalty: France-based NFC marketing specialist Airtag has partnered with Nokia for the introduction of the first loyalty card service to use NFC peer-to-peer technology. The app is based on Airtag's Fidbook technology and allows loyalty points and coupons to be downloaded to NFC phones from NFC readers in P2P mode.
Lifera brings Taztag technology to Silicon Valley: Context-aware NFC marketing services provider Lifera has signed a strategic technical partnership with TazTag that will see the French start-up's retail hardware solutions being used in Lifera's summer 2011 NFC pilot in Silicon Valley. The test will see NFC being used to deliver alerts and loyalty services to retailers, restaurants, shopping centers and local districts. "We intend to demonstrate that NFC's true value proposition for consumers as well as retailers is not about mobile payment but, rather, smart mobile commerce assistance and recommendation messaging," says Lifera CEO Philippe Tregon.
Bayer MaterialScience introduces new phone antenna technology: Bayer MaterialScience has developed and applied for a patent on a technology which integrates mobile phone antennas into decorative films. The firm has found a way to print polymer electronics on to polycarbonate films already used to decorate phones. Significant cost savings are expected over traditional methods of integrating antennas within handsets.
Pageonce raises $15m finance: Mobile wallet solutions developer Pageonce has raised $15 million from Pitango Venture Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures, chairman Liron Petrushka, and private investors. The company, which has 4.5 million registered users worldwide, has raised $25 million since it was founded by CEO Guy Goldstein in 2007.
Lockitron mobile phone door locking service unveiled: Apigy Inc has unveiled Lockitron, a combination device and service that allows people to replace their front door keys with their mobile phone. For a one-off cost of US$295 to $500 a device is added to a compatible door lock and a Lockitron base station is plugged into the customer's broadband router, then they can use a phone app — or touch an NFC tag — to open the door.
DPT unveils NFC-enabled car park payment terminal: Digital Payment Technologies has introduced an NFC-enabled multi-space parking pay station, known as Luke II, that supports payments via contactless cards or NFC phones.
Barclaycard US hires head of mobile: Dekkers Davidson has joined Barclaycard US as head of its US mobile business. Davidson joins Barclaycard US from management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, where he was involved in advising Isis.
Rail company introduces barcode ticketing service: Chiltern Railways in the UK has launched a mobile ticketing system that enables passengers to buy, instantly receive and validate tickets through an app on their mobile phone. The free app provides passengers with details of the cheapest prices and train times, and then delivers an m-ticket as a 2D barcode. Special scanners have been installed on gates at stations to check tickets, while inspectors have been provided with handheld scanners.
Bucharest contactless bank and travel card introduced: Banca Comerciala Romana and Regia Autonoma de Transport Bucuresti (RATB) have partnered to provide public transport users in the Romanian city of Bucharest with a contactless debit card that doubles as a ticket for the city's buses and subway.
Card fraud and ID theft are Brits' biggest fears: Security worries in the UK have reached a four-year peak, with card fraud (93%) and identity theft (91%) the biggest concerns, ahead of terrorism (85%), according to a survey from Unisys.
Mobey Forum expands: Six new members have joined mobile payments association the Mobey Forum since the start of the year. China Guangfa Bank, Infobip, Misys, Nykredit, Oberthur Technologies and Western Union will work alongside 50 current members.
World Economic Forum unveils mobile financial services report: More insight and sharing of information on the effectiveness and impact of regulations, consumer adoption and usage, and the needs and customs of poor and illiterate users is required to improve the delivery of mobile financial services, the World Economic Forum's 2011 MFS Develoment Report (PDF) has found. The report is based on an analysis of more than 100 variables across 20 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Shopping app delivers TV coupons: Shopping app Shopkick and US network CW have partnered to enable viewers to earn special discounts and rewards by opening the Shopkick app during promotional slots in CW shows.
Groupon launches real-time deals service: Online deals distributor Groupon has launched Groupon Now!, a new service that is updated every minute of the day rather than the company's existing one deal a day model. Customers visit the Groupon Now! website or the mobile app and key in their location to get a list of deals in their area.
Partners to deliver chip and pin payment service for mobile: ID Tech and Charge Anywhere have launched a joint initiative to create a chip and pin payment acceptance solution for mobile device platforms. The new solution, targeted for worldwide distribution, will allow EMV card payments on mobile platforms including Android, iOS and BlackBerry.