Tuesday, 04 January 2011

China Unicom Released First Single Card NFC on New Year's Eve

China Unicom commercially launched its Single-Card NFC solution with transportation application in Beijing on 31st December 2010, utilising the 13.56MHz SIMpass product provided by Watchdata.

With the SIMpass card, which is a dual-interface SIM card with flexible antenna attached, 22 million Beijing residents may take advantage of Beijing multiple application card system (BMAC) and have their daily commute even dining and shopping more convenient and enjoyable via their mobile phone.

The Beijing Municipal Administration and Communications Card Company (BMAC) manage the Beijing automatic fare collection system (AFCS), the world's largest transportation card system, which started its smartcard based operation on 1 April 2006.

Through the SIMpass technology provided by Watchdata, subscribers of China Unicom Beijing Branch will simply need to replace the conventional SIM card with the new SIMpass card in minutes. Watchdata has started its cooperation with BMAC in 2003 and provided the TimeCOS FLY contactless card in 2009 when BMAC started migration from memory card to microprocessor smart card.

Softbank's E-money Sticker for iPhones

Softbank BB Corp will release the "E-money Sticker for iPhone" that can be attached to the iPhone 4 for payment purposes in or after mid-February 2011. As for the format of contactless IC card, the sticker supports Sony Corp's FeliCa. The shape of the sticker fits the back of the iPhone 4.

Softbank BB will release 3 types of sticker. The stickers will support Aeon Co Ltd's "Waon," bitWallet Inc's "Edy" and Seven Card Service Co Ltd's "nanaco" e-money services, respectively (although each sticker can be used for only one service).

Microsoft Re-Files Patent Suit

Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen has re-launched a patent lawsuit against Apple Inc, Google Inc, Facebook and others with specific allegations that the companies are illegally using technology owned by his firm.

Interval Licensing LLC, a small research company set up by Allen in 1992, originally filed a broad patent suit in the federal court in Seattle in August, but Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed it on the grounds that it did not specify any actual products or devices.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, claims Interval was central to research and development of technology in the Internet arena in the 1990s, amassing more than 300 patents and providing research assistance to Google.

In the suit, Allen's firm claims 4 of its patents, chiefly related to the way web data is sorted and presented, have been infringed by a number of successful companies.

The first patent concerns the generation of data related to information being browsed. Interval claims Google uses this technology to match advertisements from third parties to content being displayed, while AOL's sites use it to suggest items related to news stories.

The second and third patents concern relaying information on a computer screen in a peripheral, unobtrusive manner, such as in an instant messaging box or overlay.

Interval claims its patent has been infringed by features in AOL's Instant Messenger, Apple's Dashboard, Google Talk and Gmail Notifier, Google's Android phone system and Yahoo Widgets.

The fourth patent concerns alerting web browsers to new items of interest based on activity of other users. Interval claims AOL uses this technology on its shopping sites, while Apple's iTunes uses it to recommend music.

UID Set to Replace PF Account Number

Once the unique identification (UID) project in India is fully launched, it will also serve as the number to track PF (Provident Fund) accounts of individuals. Most importantly, this number will not only help in online checking of the status of the account, but also to ensure a smooth transfer once a person changes jobs.

Labour secretary P C Chaturvedi said, "This will happen in the second phase of digitisation of EPFO but the ministry is not looking at a particular deadline right now as it is dependent on the progress of the UID project". The first phase that includes digitisation of data in its regional offices is said to complete in March 2011 after which work on interconnecting the regional offices will start.

At present, it takes lots of time for the PF amount to be transferred from one organisation to another causing majority of people to withdraw it altogether and start a new account after changing job. By using UID as a single number to track these accounts, the ministry hopes to reduce frequent withdrawals.

VeriFone and Gemalto Strategic Partnership Progresses

VeriFone Systems, Inc. and Gemalto announce further developments in their broad strategic partnership. First announced in October 2010, the partnership entails cooperative efforts in EMV chip card solutions, the handover of Gemalto's point of sale (POS) solutions business to VeriFone, and Gemalto's appointment as the preferred supplier of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) wireless modules and related solutions for VeriFone payment systems.

The companies said they have discussed initial plans for joint introduction of EMV chip and pin solutions for the U.S. market. As U.S. banks, retailers and card networks increasingly acknowledge chip card and contactless technologies as a core component of a comprehensive security infrastructure, the companies intend to introduce EMV smart card solutions that provide a superior cardholder experience and complete data protection at the point of sale. Combining the two company's expertise at both issuing and accepting smart cards will provide a ready infrastructure to advance the U.S. market towards a much more secure and convenient payment method.

Furthermore, the parties have finalized the transfer of the POS solutions business, with closing effective December 31, 2010, and VeriFone has assumed the fulfilment of existing customer relationships and product requirements for Gemalto POS customers, who are mainly located in the Middle East, South Africa and India. Concurrently, Gemalto has been designated VeriFone's preferred supplier of M2M wireless modules and related solutions. No financial terms were disclosed.

Mobile GPS Tracking System in IVR

Legiant announced the addition of mobile GPS tracking technology to their Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution. IVR allows employees to clock-in, transfer departments, and credit work hours directly to Legiant Timecard through the use of any standard telephone or mobile phone. The new GPS Transaction feature is available on most Android, BlackBerry and iPhone smartphones.

When an employee interacts with the IVR system from his or her mobile phone, the transaction is tagged with geo-location and then plotted on a map. By utilising the map, managers can quickly see where employees have called in from to record their time. The map can also pinpoint the location of landline phones, to help administrators verify when employees have clocked in at preset locations, such as a main office building or warehouse.

For over a decade, Legiant has been leading the way in the time and attendance industry with features like zero-footprint installation, automatic workflow notifications and web-based solutions. Legiant continues to break new ground by integrating with the most effective devices available, making previous time tracking solutions obsolete.

WMATA Issues RFP for New Fare Payment System

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a new electronic fare payment system. The RFP seeks a vendor to assist WMATA, USA in developing a fare system designed to process payments at the gate using technology such as contactless, chip-enabled credit cards, federal identification cards, or smart phones equipped with near-field communication technology, as well as existing SmarTrip cards, according to a prepared statement.

The current SmarTrip system will remain in operation until a new system is developed. Web-enabled services, texting and mobile applications will be enhanced to provide more information to customers at peak and off-peak hours, WMATA said.

ImageWare Selected to Expand $37M Biometric Border Project

ImageWare Systems have been selected to expand a previously announced biometric border management project with an undisclosed foreign country. The contract award, which is valued at a maximum of $37 million, will have ImageWare continue the implementation of its biometrically enhanced border management solution to create and manage biometrically enabled visa holders in specific visa categories issued to the country's visitors. The project will start in January this year and is expected to complete in mid-2012.

ImageWare's border management software will enable its government customer to biometrically enrol applicants seeking permission to cross its border. Once an applicant's finger, face and iris are enrolled along with applicable text information, a smart card will be issued to the applicant, which will be used thereafter to verify the authenticity of the applicant's identity and privileges.

The smart card will be compliant with the biometric standards set by ICAO, the international organisation that sets the standards for passports and travel documents. The project will incorporate ImageWare's patented technology for biometric/identity enrolment, identity vetting, credential issuance, credential management and access control.

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