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Nokia looks for successor to RFID tags

Telefonica O2 promises to be first with commercial NFC payments services

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 31 May, 2010

READ MORE: Europe | Nokia | Telefonica O2 Europe | NFC | UWB

UltraWideBand may have missed the boat for high speed media networks, for now at least, but the superfast, low power technology is still finding applications elsewhere. The latest is a concept developed by Nokia, which promises to improve on the RFID 'smart barcode'.

Nokia's Research Center worked with CEA-Leti on the project and will demonstrate the results at a conference next month. They will show an RF front-end circuit that allows data exchange between a reader - typically a mobile phone - and a memory tag, at speeds of 112Mbps, far faster than RFID. The circuit has already been implemented in a prototype data exchange system called Nokia Explore and Share.


The system uses a combination of pulse-based UWB, in the 7.9GHz UWB band, for fast data transfer over short distances, and narrowband UHF for synchronization and remote powering. The same circuit can manage physical layer communication at both ends of connection, so the same RF front-end can be used in the tag and reader to save cost. The circuit can power itself from the narrowband signal, or there is a battery mode for increased reading distance. France-based Leti makes the circtui. The companies will present their project at the VLSI Symposium in Hawaii on June 15-18.

Also in the world of near-field communications, Telefonica O2 aims to be the first operator with fully commercial payment services using the contactless technology, NFC (Near Field Communications). The carrier will launch such offerings, integrated into handsets, in the UK, Spain and the Czech Republic in late 2010 or early 2011, Michiel Van Eldik, Telefónica's group director for new business and innovation, told Reuters. The firm already has a commercial pilot in the Czech city of Pilsen, using Nokia 6212 NFC phones, preloaded for use with local transport services. They can also be used to buy tickets and to shop in participating stores.

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