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Archive: News in brief

Statue wafts fragrance with NFC

November 18th, 2013

A statue that emits a whiff of scent when an NFC phone is tapped to it has been installed in the French town of Grasse, a leading centre for the perfume industry. The statue, created by artist Marina Latta and students at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis’ MBDS department, also offers photos, African music and a video of Latta explaining the artistic style’s origins.

Xiaomi picks Micropross for testing

November 15th, 2013

China-based smartphone maker Xiaomi has chosen Micropross test equipment to validate the NFC interfaces in its future products. “Micropross’ expertise in the field of contactless interface testing is very famous on the market,” says Xiaomi’s Xisohui Pi.

Inside updates VaultIC tag

November 15th, 2013

Inside Secure has redesigned its dual-interface VaultIC 150/150D security module to include a new privacy mode which requires strong authentication to access its contents, complying with the ‘silent by design’ philosophy of the Internet of Things community. The chip, which comes in formats that include NFC tags, can be used to guard against counterfeiting and cloning and, with its field-detect capability and the 150D’s dual interfaces, can act as “a low-cost secure bridge for medical and communications equipment.”

Orange picks Wirecard for NFC

November 13th, 2013

Orange France is using technology from Wirecard to support the launch of its prepaid Orange Cash NFC payments service. Wirecard is providing the “technical platform needed to manage the mobile payment application”, subsidiary Wirecard Card Solutions will serve as the card issuer and Orange will also use Wirecard’s loyalty and couponing platform to provide a range of value-added services.

NFC stylus seeks backers

November 13th, 2013

Taiwanese design company 9006 Style is seeking US$8,000 to further the design and manufacturing of BeeStylus, a chunky stylus with built-in NFC. The US$35 device is ideal for quickly launching smartphone apps via NFC when needing to take down notes on the move, the inventors say, pointing out that tapping the stylus to the device could “open Evernote or other note-taking apps while talking on phone.”

MWC 2014 to get more NFC

November 13th, 2013

The NFC Experience at the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress will be expanded in 2014, allowing NFC phones to be used for venue access, catering and networking as well as “demonstrations of the latest NFC and products and services in applications including retail, online commerce and transport.” NFC badges stored on phones will again be used for quick access to the Fira Gran Via venue and, for the first time, to allow entry to the conference facilities in Hall 4.

Forum and Bluetooth SIG pair up

November 13th, 2013

The NFC Forum and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the trade association responsible for overseeing the Bluetooth specification and brand, have signed an agreement that will see the two organisations work more closely to enhance interoperability between the two technologies via a formal liaison relationship. The two groups have previously collaborated on a developers’ guide to initiating Bluetooth pairing with NFC.

FIME to test VMPA on SEs

November 13th, 2013

Testing specialist Fime has been accredited by Visa to validate implementation of the Visa Mobile Payment Application on secure elements. VMPA is the applet stored in the secure element that enables an NFC phone to act as a Visa payments device and Fime is now be able to validate it works correctly on all types of secure elements including microSD, SIM and embedded formats.

OTI wins $10m US NFC order

November 12th, 2013

Contactless technology specialist On Track Innovations has signed a contract to provide US$10m worth of NFC readers with “one of its US channel partners who primarily serves the unattended retail market in North America.” An initial 40,000 readers are due to be shipped by the end of 2013. The order is additional to a 30,000 unit US order received in May.

Avery adds NFC packaging

November 12th, 2013

Product packaging manufacturer Avery Dennison has added DirectLink, an NFC-enabled packaging solution, to its range of products. Avery Dennison will provide a content management service to its clients as part of the offering, allowing them to offer consumers “immediate access to user friendly content such as a survey, recipe ideas, coupon, video tutorial or a user manual.”

Oberthur offers NFC eID

November 6th, 2013

Oberthur Technologies has launched ‘ID-One PIV for eSE’, a software solution that enables US federal government personal identity verification (PIV) credentials to be stored on an embedded NFC secure element, allowing mobile phones to be used for logical and physical access control instead of smart cards. Oberthur’s Pearl embedded secure elements can be found in devices including the Xiaomi Mi3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Famoco raises US$1m

November 6th, 2013

NFC device maker Famoco has raised a US$1million finance round from two venture capital funds. “After two years of research and development of the business in Asia, this new investment will help Famoco to continue opening new markets in EMEA,” says CEO and co-founder Lionel Baraban. In October the company launched its FX 100, a lockable NFC device aimed at business use.

Tappr gets $2m for NFC payments

November 6th, 2013

Australian startup Tappr has raised A$2m in seed funding for an NFC payments service that is due to launch in early 2014. Tappr’s Nero app will enable consumers to make payments using a mobile wallet and merchants will be able to accept payments via Juvo, an NFC receiver that plugs into the audio jack of a smartphone or tablet.

CIBC adds Q10 NFC payments

November 4th, 2013

Canadian Bank CIBC has extended availability of its NFC payments service to BlackBerry Q10 owners. The service was first rolled out in November 2012 and expanded to include support for BlackBerry 10 phones in October 2013. Consumers must also have a Suretap NFC SIM from telco Rogers Communications to make NFC payments.

NFC Forum certifies ACS reader

November 4th, 2013

Advanced Card Systems has received NFC Forum certification for its ACR1252U USB NFC reader. “It is another ACS milestone and a proof of our R&D efforts devoted to NFC technology,” says the company’s Gilbert Leung. Engineering samples will be available at the end of 2013.

BA pilots NFC bag tags

November 4th, 2013

British Airways has begun testing a reusable digital luggage tag that contains an e-ink display and can be updated via NFC with new flight information each time a passenger travels. Nokia Lumia handsets are being used by Microsoft employees during the one month trial at Heathrow Terminal 5. All smartphones will be supported when the service goes live, BA says.

Capital adds NFC to signage

November 4th, 2013

Digital signage software specialist Capital Networks has added NFC to its Audience for Android digital signage solution, an entry-level content management and display system for businesses entering the digital signage market. NFC will be used to allow consumers to get information by tapping their NFC phone to automatically open a web page linked to the advertised product.

Google posts HCE guide

November 1st, 2013

A detailed guide to Android 4.4 KitKat’s support for Host Card Emulation (HCE), which enables NFC payments and other secure services to be delivered without the use of a secure element, is now available on the Android Developers website. The host-based card emulation guide explains how HCE works on Android devices and how developers can create apps that use the technique.

Bankmecu tests NFC stickers

October 30th, 2013

Australia’s Bankmecu and card issuer Cuscal have completed an NFC payment sticker trial, enabling consumers to make contactless payments at Visa payWave terminals using a smart sticker stuck to their phone. Bankmecu now plans to further test the service before launching it to its wider cardholder base in the next few months. People’s Choice Credit Union will also test the service and Cuscal says it is in discussions with additional clients.

UK gov funds NFC ticketing

October 30th, 2013

The UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board is providing a £1.1m grant to a consortium led by Tedipay that is developing MultiPass, a smart ticketing service designed to offer a single, nationwide travel pass that will always charge travellers the lowest possible fare. Multipass will be available on NFC phones and also allow passengers to make payments for snacks and drinks, car parking and other travel-related products and services.

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