News in brief from the NFC world and beyond: PingPing adds Coca-Cola • Indian banks offer mobile payments • GSMA investigates embedded SIMs • VeriFone buys Hypercom • Brands test Google Goggles • 500m to use mobile medical apps by 2015 • CPI hits 100M contactless cards • and more…
PINGPING ADDS COCA-COLA: PingPing, the contactless sticker-based payments system run by Belgian mobile network operator Belgacom, has signed a partnership deal with Coca-Cola Enterprises. The deal will see Coca-Cola adding support for PingPing to 5,000 vending machines across Belgium and Luxembourg.
INDIAN BANKS OFFER MOBILE PAYMENTS: The new Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) is run by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and uses SMS to enable funds to be transferred between accounts instantly using even very low-end phones. IMPS rides on the existing NFS Interbank ATM transaction switching infrastructure used by 51 member banks. The service is currently being promoted by ten Indian banks, PC World reports. “About seven of these banks are in various stages of offering services around the technology. Another 40 banks that have been authorized by the central bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to offer mobile banking are also expected to use the service.”
GSMA INVESTIGATES EMBEDDED SIMS: The mobile network operator’s association has formed a task force to explore the development of an embedded SIM that can be remotely activated. “The move is expected to enable the design of exciting new form factors for mobile communications,” says the GSMA. “It will also speed the development of M2M services by making it easier to bring mobile broadband to non-traditional devices such as cameras, MP3 players, navigation devices and e-readers, as well as smart meters.” The move follows speculation that Apple is working on embedding a SIM in the iPhone.
VERIFONE BUYS HYPERCOM: Leading terminal supplier VeriFone has acquired Hypercom for US$485m. “Consistent with our vision as a global leader in secure electronic payment solutions, we have placed strategic focus on replicating our North American success in key markets in continental Europe,” says VeriFone CEO Douglas G Bergeron. “Hypercom has established itself in a number of important European markets, and this acquisition is an excellent and complementary way for us to accelerate our overseas growth, increase innovation and build value for our shareholders.”
BRANDS TEST GOOGLE GOGGLES: “We’re working with five brands — Buick, Disney, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Air Lines — to extend some of their offline marketing to the mobile web,” The Official Google Blog reports. “They have ‘Goggles-enabled’ some of their print ads, movie posters and other media. When users take pictures of these with Google Goggles, they will be recognized by the app, and users will have the option of clicking-through directly to a mobile destination from the brand.”
RAPID SMARTPHONE GROWTH: “In just five years, the rate of smartphone users has grown from five out of every 100 to 20 out of every 100,” the Samsung Economic Research Institute reports. “It took fixed-line phones 31 years to reach that level, the internet eight years and cellular phones six years… By 2014, mobile traffic is projected to reach 3.6m terabytes, which is 39 times that of 2009.”
500M TO USE MOBILE MEDICAL APPS BY 2015: “Smartphone applications will become the killer applications for mobile health solutions,” says a new report by Research2Guidance. Smartphone applications will enable the mHealth industry to successfully reach out to 500m of a total 1.4bn smartphone users in 2015, the report concludes. “Our findings indicate that the long-expected mobile revolution in healthcare is set to happen,” says the company’s Ralf-Gordon Jahns. “Both healthcare providers and consumers are embracing smartphones as a means to improving healthcare.”
CPI HITS 100M: CPI Card Group has announced it has now produced 100m contactless cards at its Colorado, US factory. Customers include US Bank, Capital One and Barclays.