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Belgacom and Alcatel-Lucent to develop open payments system

Belgacom’s PingPing and Alcatel-Lucent’s Touchatag are creating an open system that will allow consumers to use contactless cards, stickers or NFC phones to access services developed by a range of technology suppliers, operators and application developers.

OPEN APPROACH: PingPing and Touchatag will develop an open system
OPEN APPROACH: PingPing and Touchatag will develop an open system

Belgacom, operator of the NFC sticker-based PingPing mobile payments service, and Alcatel-Lucent, developer of Touchatag (previously known as Tikitag), have formed a partnership to create an open business model for PingPing, designed to enable Belgian consumers to use contactless cards, stickers or NFC phones in as wide a variety of applications as possible.

As a first stage, PingPing’s sticker-based payment system, due to launch during the third quarter of 2009, is being combined with Touchatag’s contactless services, which include interactive advertising, loyalty programs and coupon services.

An accreditation programme for other technology suppliers, operators and application developers will then be set up, allowing third-party suppliers to develop new applications and services based on the companies’ technology.

“PingPing now wants to open up this technology to the creative power of many developers and we have adopted a very open approach to the market,” says Stijn Vander Plaetse, vice president of innovation at Belgacom. “We want to combine PingPing payment services with many new and exciting value-added services on one single contactless card or mobile phone, making it easier for the consumer and the companies they want to do business with.”

Although the formal agreement between the two companies is new, they have been working together on the development of a combined offering for some time. In June 2008, a trial went live at an Alcatel-Lucent canteen in Belgium which saw the traditional paper meal vouchers issued by Accor Services being replaced with a combined PingPing/Touchatag solution.

The new service, Accor reports, has provided both savings in distribution costs and a user-friendly experience for customers and the company now plans to extend the trial to include a range of other services such as interactive advertising applications, interactive displays, loyalty programs and coupons.