Yes, the NRF show has just finished up and Narian Technologies was on the floor showing off its full suite of non-payment NFC services that help retailers maximize profits cost effectively. If you are an NFC enthusiast and haven’t heard of Narian Technologies we only have one thing to say to you - Have you been living under a rock for the last year or so? Narian is far older than a year old though, and led by industry expert, Einar Rosenberg. When Narian isn’t helping the top names in NFC develop new products, services or simply giving consulting services, the firm is hard at work developing and deploying its own full suite of retail services that use NFC to prevent lost sales and maximize profit in retail situations.
Einar Rosenberg has long been known as an expert in NFC related technologies and projects and has years of experience and products behind him. So, when it comes to Narian’s own products and services you may already have the idea that the firm has put all of its know-how into creating something that is not only frictionless but that also helps retail businesses work more efficiently and ultimately make more profit.
"Retailers love the value proposition we are offering," Rosenberg said.
If we had to simplify everything that the Narian platform does we would simply say it’s a must have set of tools for retailers who put their customer experiences first and know that if they exceed customer expectations the profit will follow and loyalty will be gained. NFC is an enabler and alone doesn’t do too much at all. However, when NFC is added to back end platforms, innovative creative and runs on a back end that records meaningful analytics NFC becomes a very attractive prospect for retailers. There are a myriad of companies developing NFC based retail services, which includes ShelfX and Proximiant who both have very solid offerings that use NFC for POS, receipts, offers and NFC payments in-store.
However, Narian’s approach is a little different. Narian is focused on accountability of staff members in helping customers. Its system also works towards helping customers get the information they need to purchase products. The scope of Narian’s system is very robust and quite frankly too large to fully describe in one post. However, Narian sent us over its latest set of SlideShare presentations that go quite a way to giving a brief overview of some of the services the firm offers. We say some of the services because Narian Technologies is like a rabbit hole. They have developed more retail based services than we can count, and they are just the ones we know about.
Retail is one focus, but restaurants, bars and many other businesses that have customer facing situations would probably benefit from the Narian Technologies suite of services. Because the platform is so customizable it fits with any brand, with any look and even gives merchants their very own app that can be branded.
Out of the presentations that Narian sent us over the above information probably best described the length and breadth of the firm’s NFC based services.
Big changes are set to happen within retail in the next few years and the most progressive firms will likely use NFC based platforms and systems. There are a growing amount of NFC smartphones in the market today and by the end of this year that figure is set to jump to millions of potential customers that have the ability to interact with NFC tags. Narian has partnered with UPM RFID, or Smartrac as they will soon be known, to provide custom printed materials for stores that contain NFC tags. We covered Narian’s app last year, which you can find here, here and here.
"Retailers all thought that all they could do with NFC tags is Social/Multimedia or Coupons, but they all saw a much greater return and innovation out of our unique apps that save time and create efficiency for their work force," Rosenberg told NFC Rumors.
Einar Rosenberg also said, “Visitors to both the UPM RFID & NXP booth at NFC didn’t realize that the growth went from a few hundred thousand NFC phones in the US to about 5 million from October to January. Roughly three months, and we went crazy big with NFC. Right now, NFC phones are either the #1 or #2 or both top selling phones on Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T for the months of November and December. So they all thought NFC wasn’t for another year or that it was just mobile payments, but the real numbers shocked and excited most every retailer we met.”
If you are looking around for a solution that can add better customer service and a mechanism for higher profits in your retail empire we think that Narian Technologies should certainly be on your list of solutions to check out. We expect to see the Narian system deployed in multiple high profile stores this year as more and more NFC smartphones hit the market and Isis MNOs start allowing NFC services to be used and for the technology to be switched on in consumers’ devices.
The move towards a cashless society takes another step forward as the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) deploys Visa payWave contactless and NFC payments at 43 locations throughout the city. Canadians can now pay for parking with a wave of an NFC phone or EMV contactless card at any one of 11,600 parking spaces in Toronto with no loose change required.
"We know Torontonians are busy, and we want to take care of them as efficiently as possible," said Gwyn Thomas, TPA President. "Visa payWave will help save our customers time as they can enter and exit our lots much quicker."
LG announced its LG Optimus Net on the 15th of July with the promise that some versions of the phone would be NFC capable devices in certain markets. However, which markets would get the NFC version were not disclosed and the way the press release read suggested that it may only be Europe that initially received some NFC goodness from LG, which is a little odd when you consider that NFC is taking off all around the world and LG hasn’t really got a large portfolio of NFC phones. The way the press release read was very cryptic as to where and when we would see the NFC version of the LG Optimus Net. We have included the press release below for you to take a look at. However, the rumor mill has been peddling rumors in the last few days that T-Mobile USA may have committed to taking on the P690 LG Optimus Net NFC version on to the pink network, and we could see it in just a few short weeks.
Specifications for the LG Optimus Net NFC phone are a little light on the ground at the moment, but we will give you what we have.
Visa NFC mobile wallet in August? Maybe, if rumors pan out. Way back in May of this year Visa announced that it would launch its own NFC mobile wallet in the fall of this year. At the time it released a press release with a smattering of banks that would support the new NFC mobile wallet. Barclaycard US, BB&T Corporation, Card Services for Unions (CSCU), ICBA Bancard, First Financial Bank of Ohio, Nordstrom fsb, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank, PSCU Financial Services, Regions Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, TD Bank Group (US and Canada) and US Bank had all signed on to bring Visa’s dream of its own NFC mobile wallet into the realms of reality.
"Our new solutions deliver greater consumer choice, convenience and control while helping our clients grow their businesses. By helping to reduce abandoned online shopping carts and bringing new account holders into the Visa network, we create a win-win-win for merchants, consumers and financial institutions," noted Joseph W. Saunders, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa Inc. "In addition, we believe Visa’s new payments products and services will help expand financial inclusion to the billions of mobile subscribers today who currently lack access to traditional financial services."
The US gets its first NFC smart poster campaign today, thanks to the folks over at Proxama. We have discovered a simple equation that seems to define NFC smart poster marketing so far: fun + interactive x marketing / contactless = Proxama. The company seems to be involved whenever there is an interesting marketing campaign in the offing and today is no exception, as the company announces its involvement in another NFC smart poster campaign for VH-1’s new show Basketball Wives. This isn’t the first NFC smart poster campaign that the UK outfit has been involved in. They were also the people behind the X-Men: First Class campaign in London, which saw 20 smart posters in and around London with NFC tags embedded that linked to the movie’s Facebook page.
Neil Garner, Founder and CEO of Proxama said, “I am delighted that Proxama has been chosen to be the NFC partner for this exciting project. It is very important that we are able to demonstrate to advertisers, businesses and consumers the potential that NFC offers which is why we are running this campaign in tandem with a leading handset manufacturer in Nokia and outdoor media specialists Hyperspace.”
Google Wallet is going live this summer and we are not surprised, because just ten days ago we posted to let you know that Sprint was sending out an update for the Google Nexus S that enabled the secure element portion of the phone which until that time had remained inactive. Also, this last week Sprint slashed the price of the Google Nexus S down to $99 and we shared we had found it for $50, which you can get the links to here. It seems like an eternity ago that Google started testing Google Wallet, which is its NFC mobile wallet that lets you pay for goods and services by simply waving your phone across an NFC-enabled POS terminal. In fact, it has only been since late May and now the El Goog is getting ready to expand the trial to anyone on Sprint who has the Google Nexus S 4G. You just know it’s going to be like Harry Potter as everyone with the aforementioned phone is whipping out their Nexus S’ and waving them around to pay for anything they can find an excuse to buy. We advise wearing a hard hat if a friend uses the Nexus S and you are out and about with them.
Finally, a bank in Australia is going to support NFC payments. Commonwealth Bank of America told ZDNet Australia that it intends to launch a solution within 3 months with no trial. What makes CommBank’s plans to release a mass market NFC payment solution for all customers by mid-October so momentous, is the fact that so many Australian and New Zealand financial institutions have trialled the technology and failed to employ it despite successful trials.
"A highly placed source within CommBank today told ZDNet Australia that the bank intends to skip the trial phase and go straight to market with a case-based option to power up a customer’s mobile handset with NFC.”
After ANZ Bank decided to not go with DeviceFidelity’s iPhone microSD NFC case, the future looked bleak in Australia that the technology would ever get deployed.
Sprint is becoming more relevant in the mobile wallet space by the day as a serious competitor to both AT&T and Verizon announced today a collaboration with American Express to promote its Serve mobile wallet platform. American Express released Serve in late March, but until now it hasn’t had any relationship with a mobile network in the United States or anywhere else. The Serve mobile wallet service will be available to Sprint Zone customers. Sprint has now partnered with Google with its Google Wallet platform and can now boast the Amex Serve system in its portfolio of mobile wallet’s, which places the company in a positive position as mobile wallet adoption is said to be brisk this year and next.
“Sprint is pleased to join with American Express to offer this convenient tool for sending and receiving money to friends, paying bills and making purchases online,” said Kevin McGinnis, Vice President of Product Platforms for Sprint. “Our relationship with American Express is a great example of Sprint’s open enablement strategy. Sprint brings practical, easy-to-use apps and services to our customers from trusted brands like American Express.”Sprint and American Express get together to offer the AMEX Serve mobile wallet to the now network’s customers
Instead of using NFC, the American Express Serve mobile wallet transactions are added to customers’ mobile bills with Sprint.
NFC Rumors has learned from sources close to the matter, that Microsoft is building its own NFC mobile wallet that it intends to launch in 2012 along with Windows Phone 8. The Microsoft NFC mobile wallet will compete against Google Wallet, the Isis Wallet and any mobile wallet that Apple produces. It appears each main mobile operating system is due to have its own mobile wallet which leads to the question of where will Isis fit in? It is unclear at this time whether the Microsoft NFC mobile wallet is just a product for the United States or whether it is aimed at a global market. Microsoft has a global reach and partners already in place to penetrate any market which it may utilize when Windows Phone 8 is launched in 2012.Microsoft is building an NFC mobile wallet to launch with Windows Phone 8
Unless you have lived under a rock for the past few months, you will know that Microsoft and Nokia have become buddies, and have formed a partnership to further both Windows Phone operating system and Nokia’s skin.
Capital One is mulling over its options for an NFC mobile wallet. Considering that Capital One is one of the biggest card issuers in the United States, Capital One has not stated any plans for NFC contactless payments outside of the contactless PayPass cards it provided in Canada, while competitors like CitiCard have made announcements and partnerships to take part in Google Wallet. That doesn’t mean they aren’t considering their options though. After some nifty investigation, Dan Balaban over at NFC Times uncovered a job posting from last month that starts to shed some light on Capital One’s plans. The job posting sought a senior business director for mobile payments with a knowledge of NFC and the alternative-payment scene. We must admit the alternative-payment scene sounds like hippies bartering, but we can only assume this means contactless payments of some flavor or another.
It makes sense that in these times where everybody and their mother is creating a mobile wallet that Capital One would choose to align itself with other mobile wallets, rather than creating its own. At the end of the day, creating your own mobile wallet has limited benefit. It means you have another software platform to support, and you also have the task of marketing that new mobile wallet to a society that is still unsure of NFC payments.The low cost, maximum return scenario for a company like Capital One, and indeed CitiCard, is to join forces with other NFC mobile wallet providers and to concentrate on what they know best, which is credit transaction. This leaves the skill set and the marketing expenses of NFC mobile wallets to others while a card issuer like Capital One can potentially integrate itself into multiple NFC mobile wallet offerings in the marketplace. Industry observers have confirmed that they feel this is a likely route for Capital One. If indeed Capital One does want to partner itself with another NFC mobile wallet, it would be likely that Isis and Google Wallet would be at the top of the list of options.
Blaze Mobile has been awarded a patent for an NFC sticker that attaches to iPhones and feature phones and allows them to make NFC contactless payments. Blaze Mobile was one of the first companies to enter the mobile wallet business back when there were no mobile wallets. The grandaddy of mobile wallets announced on Friday that it had been awarded patent for an NFC sticker that communicates with applications within the phone and allows them to conduct contactless payments. The system is currently certified for MasterCard PayPass accounts, but on the company’s website the NFC stickers are listed as coming soon. If you are a regular reader of NFC Rumors, you will know that tap-to-pay transactions are set to explode over the next few years, and this NFC sticker may have just tipped the balance of power when it comes to enabling non-NFC phones to make NFC contactless transactions. At this time, there are very few NFC-enabled phones in the marketplace and the NFC sticker may well sell like hot cakes. Blaze is working on a text-message-based mobile wallet that would work with basic phones. Blaze Mobile said it expects to introduce the feature by the fourth quarter.
Meet the LG Optimus Net NFC phone that was announced by LG Electronics earlier today. So, LG went and finally got itself an NFC Android NFC phone that doesn’t look like it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on its way down. The LG Optimus Net NFC phone is the first Android set that the company has produced and is a aimed at a budget conscience market with specifications that match. When you consider you can pick up an invariably more powerful Nexus S for $99 these days, we imagine the LG Optimus Net NFC phone is destined to be free or better when it comes with a two year binding contract. LG also announced its Optimus Pro, which doesn’t have NFC. Despite its Pro name, it has lower specifications than the LG Optimus Net Android NFC phone.LG Optimus Net NFC phone features Specifications for the LG Optimus Net NFC phone are a little light on the ground at the moment, but we will give you what we have. The LG Optimus Net is a phone aimed with social networking in mind. It runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) so it will be able to handle most things you chuck at it. However, the company foresees the little handset being used socially and so have included a feature called LG Social+ (Google+, LG Social+ - coincidence or trendy new name we may see in lots of cheap electronics that refer to social networking?).
The big news coming out of Google this morning is that NFC has a big part to play in Google+, and in fact, Google Wallet is currently being integrated into the social networking portal. Speaking at MobileBeat 2011, Stephanie Tilenius,the company’s Vice President of Commerce, spoke to delegates about Google’s mobile payments strategies. Tilenius gave a glimpse of the company’s future roadmap for mobile payments.
After many attempts to dethrone Facebook, it appears Google’s new offering, Google+, is actually making headway against the world’s number one social networking website. The key to Google+ is how embedded it is in our online and offline lives encompassing SEO or content we like, people, as in our friends and business contacts, the places we go offline and the things we buy and experience. Google Wallet and Google Offers will be embedded in Google+, Tilenius said, as well as other Google properties such as Maps. At this time, we are not sure how this will work but it gives a clue that may suggest that online stores may be able to be housed within Google+ and NFC phones may be able to purchase from these stores, accessing the Google wallet for payment.
Today, Verizon Wireless spoke about its plans on enabling the NFC market with the use of its keychain SIM implementation of a secure element at the MobileBeat 2011 conference in San Francisco. The mobile operator, who is part of the Isis joint venture, plans to deploy development tools for developers, startups and other companies according to Humphrey Chen, Executive Director of New Technology Development for Verizon Wireless. The Isis joint venture is the multi-carrier collaboration between Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile that aims to deploy their own platform for their customers to use NFC technologies.
A secure element is an area of memory that is separated from your phone’s operating system and is built to contain sensitive data that can authenticate mobile payments. Secure elements are normally tamper proof, which means if a thief or hacker attempted to extract data in an unauthorized manner, the card would permanently locks itself off and permanently deny all access requests for data.
Verizon Wireless is enabling the NFC market with a SIM based secure element that has 256KB of memory. This translates in real world terms as enough space for 8 authentication keys, or payment services. Humphrey Chen told delegates that 2 of the 8 keys were already provisioned for Isis uses, which leaves 6 free for developers and mobile transaction providers to utilize.
Paypal has unveiled its first foray into NFC today by showing off its new NFC person to person payments Android widget that currently works with the Google Nexus S. Laura Chambers, senior director of PayPal Mobile, introduced the new Android NFC person to person payments widget that allows consumers to transfer money by simply tapping their NFC phones together. Being NFC, Android users will not have to open a PayPal app to transfer monies, they simply tap a payment request into the widget and tap their phones together.PayPal NFC Person to person payments widget will be available summer 2011
PayPal has worked hard to create a frictionless experience for the consumer who will use their NFC person to person payments widget, and whereas there are a couple of security concerns, the process looks very easy. Android users can either request to pay or receive funds from another NFC-enabled device that is using the PayPal NFC person to person payments widget. As soon as the request is sent to PayPal, you simply hold your phones together until your NFC phone buzzes and you are done. Your transaction is complete and you can go about your business. One of the great abilities of the NFC standard is the feature of peer to peer data exchange. We get a first look at how this can be implemented with the PayPal NFC person to person payments widget that utilizes the NFC peer to peer functionality to complete its transactions.PayPal NFC Person to person payments widget does not use the secure element
The secure element on many NFC phones is an area of the phone dedicated to storing delicate data in a tamper proof area of the phone that is segregated from the phones OS. That portion of the NFC phone ensures you have your data and that is not sitting in a database on the internet that you need tokens or credentials to access. The other way to use NFC is without an secure element and is that you store nothing but a secure encrypted token on your phone which acts like a username and password on a web-based payment system which is then secured with a pin number. There is a lot of conjecture about which system is secure at this time, but PayPal has chosen to bypass the secure element and to rely on its own web based security with its new NFC person to person payments widget for Android. Security will be an issue that is debated further with this widget and we will go into that in another post.
PayPal has been working on its NFC person to person payments widget for a few months now, testing it with the Nexus S and older Nokia NFC phones. We have known for sometime that PayPal has been eying NFC and plotting to grow its full suite of services with NFC resulting in a PayPal mobile wallet platform. We also expect the PayPal NFC foray to expand into brick and mortar stores with NFC POS terminals that support PayPal NFC payments, but as yet there have been no official announcements.Read full post and see the video