ComputerWorld: Sony, Philips and Near Field Communications

In early September, Sony and Philips announced they were working together to commercialize “near field communications” based upon RFID technology — basically it’s a personal area networking technology that will compete with Bluetooth.

The aim is to build a ubiquitous open infrastructure of NFC-compliant devices which effectively incorporate smart-key and smartcard reader functions, providing a convenient communication method for services such as payment (including credit card), ticketing, and accessing online entertainment content (e.g. gaming) through the devices. This can be done simply by holding devices or smartcards near each other. It is anticipated that the technology will play a key role in allowing content and service providers to offer various new ways of accessing their services. The consumer’s primary NFC device (e.g. mobile phone or PDA) acts as a smart-key to gain access to chosen services from any NFC device, anywhere, anytime.

Bob Brewin reports on the announcement in ComputerWorld:

Cohen said Philips already has a leg up in the mobile payments industry due to the fact that Visa International Inc. in Foster City, Calif., already uses the company’s Mifare RFID chip technology in its smart credit cards, which are widely used in markets outside the U.S.

Joe Chouinard, vice president of Visa and co-president of the Mobile Payments Forum, which includes American Express Co., MasterCard International Inc., Visa and Tokyo-based JCB, said Visa and the forum wouldn’t take sides in a battle of payment technologies for now.

“We’re device-neutral,” Chouinard said, adding, “There’s a number of technologies that might take off for [mobile] payments. But as far as we’re concerned, the jury is still out.” The forum, Chouinard said, is working to create standards that will support all types of mobile payment technologies.

Ed Sutherland reports on NFC — and its eight inch transmission range.

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