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Sydney Serves RFID on The Rocks

The city's historic district is laced with RFID stickers that offer visitors an interactive tour via their NFC-enabled cell phones.
By Dave Friedlos
Sep 03, 2012Visitors to Sydney's The Rocks will soon be able to learn about the history of the popular tourist precinct, with just a simple wave of their smartphones, thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology.

The Rocks, an area located near the site of Australia's first European settlement in 1788, was established shortly after the colony's formation. Its buildings are composed of local sandstone, from which the area derives its name. The Rocks' colorful past, historic buildings, proximity to Circular Quay and views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge make it a popular destination for millions of tourists annually.

Andrew Stoner, the deputy premier of New South Wales (NSW), claims that The Rocks is the world's first heritage precinct to offer visitors an interactive tour via cell phones. "With just a simple tap of their mobile phone, visitors will be taken on a journey through laneways of The Rocks," he says, "along cobblestone streets, and up and down sandstone steps, to reveal fascinating stories of families, friends, convicts and colonists."

The NSW Government funded the program through the first round of its Collaborative Solutions program, known as Mobile Concierge, which supports consortiums developing innovative mobile solutions for tourism and retail industries. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) then approached NFC technology provider Tapit to integrate the technology, combining NFC tags and Quick Response (QR) codes, into 37 historic locations within The Rocks.

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