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Italian ski resorts to test open NFC system in Stolpan’s first trial

Tourists visiting ski resorts in the Italian Dolomites this winter will be provided with NFC-enabled phones for use in a range of applications as part of the Stolpan consortium’s first field trial. Phones and terminals from multiple suppliers will be used.

MOUNTAIN EXCITEMENT: Skiers in the Falcade region will be given NFC-enabled phones for the Stolpan field trial
MOUNTAIN EXCITEMENT: Skiers in the Falcade region will be given NFC-enabled phones for the Stolpan field trial

Visitors to selected hotels in the ski resorts around the Italian city of Falcade this winter will be able to use NFC phones in a wide range of application areas around their resort.

The trial will be the first time that the NFC solutions being developed by the Stolpan consortium will be tested in the field. Stolpan, the Store Logistics and Payment with NFC project, is a pan-European consortium aiming to define open commercial and technical frameworks for NFC-enabled services.

The applications being tested in this trial use a variety of different devices and connection technologies including smart cards, SMS and barcodes as well as NFC phones and terminals from different suppliers. Applications include:

  • The delivery of up-to-date ski and weather reports to phones when devices are waved past NFC-enabled active posters.
  • The integration of NFC with SMS and barcode-based infrastructures in bars, restaurants and shops to offer customer loyalty schemes. For example a coupon picked up from a smart poster offering discounts at a local restaurant might be redeemed through the NFC phone using a SMS or barcode system later that evening.

“Widespread adoption of NFC applications requires simplicity for users,” explained Florent Frederix, head of the RFID office within the European Commission’s Information Society and Media Directorate. “Being able to integrate this exciting technology with existing contactless, Mifare and bar code environments is crucial to achieve this.”

“This first open interoperability trial will be a key milestone in positioning Europe as a globally competitive player in the NFC area which will become an important technology for the emerging Internet of Things,” he added.

“The trial requires us to bring together different technologies and partners to support our common goal,” commented Francesco Prato, executive vice president of Ennova Research, the Stolpan member firm that is managing the trial and has developed the service platform being used. “We expect the service and platform deployed in the Veneto region will be ready for widespread commercial deployment in 2010, coinciding with the integration of NFC into significant numbers of mobile phones.”

The trial, organized by Stolpan, is supported by the University of Rome’s Cattid laboratory, the Regione del Veneto local government and Hungarian NFC specialists AFF. Different types of NFC-enabled phones, contactless point-of-sale terminals from Ingenico and both NFC and Mifare technology from NXP are being used in the trial. The security systems used in the trial have been developed by Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria.

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