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RFID News Roundup

Tagsys teams up with RYB on solution to detect underground infrastructure; Ubisense joins the Manufacturing Technology Centre to provide RTLS expertise to British manufacturers; Centre Hospitalier Côte de Lumière implements AeroScout Wi-Fi RTLS; RFIDSpan Technology announces new LLRP RFID reader; Tagonic kicks off contest for NFC-driven interactive campaigns; Broadcom contributes NFC software stack for Android; NFC-enabled mobile payments coming to Australia.
Tagonic Kicks Off Contest for NFC-Driven Interactive Campaigns
Tagonic, a provider of services designed to help companies create and implement interactive campaigns, is calling on customers to offer ideas regarding how to use Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID technology to drive consumer engagement. The best submission will win 1,000 NFC tags, in addition to free use of and access to Tagonic's platform for a minimum of one year. The platform is designed to support interactive campaigns that utilize mobile technologies, such as NFC and QR codes, according to Rupert Englander, Tagonic's managing director. The platform provides a cloud-based tag-management service and allows full management of campaigns (including virtual reprogramming of tags) and campaign statistics. It tracks scans and conversions, enabling Tagonic's clients to determine how effectively their campaign is performing, including tracking individual points of sale. "Because each tag is unique, if you have 10 tags in the campaign, we will break down the interactions and conversions of each individual tag," Englander explains. "Say, for example, you are a retailer and you have a tag at your front window and a tag at the point of sale, your campaign statistics will help you determine which tag is working more effectively for you by the number of interactions and conversions." Tagonic will provide tags to its customers, Englander says—and if it does, the first year's campaign hosting and management is included in the tag price (prices vary due to volumes and requirements). Starting in the second year, hosting and managements costs will apply, based on a penny per tag per year, and a sliding scale based on the number of tags under management. If tags are sourced elsewhere but the customer wants to use the Tagonic platform for its management and reporting capabilities, Tagonic can provide a range of URLs to be programmed onto the tags, with the company charging for its services from the onset on a per-tag basis. Englander says the contest's goal is to "give people who have a great idea the opportunity to implement it. By removing the cost of the tags, we hope we can go some way to reducing the barriers for people to implement it." The competition is slated to run until the end of 2012.

Broadcom Contributes NFC Software Stack for Android
Broadcom, an Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer of semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, has announced the contribution of its Near Field Communication (NFC) software stack to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Led by Google, AOSP is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android. Broadcom's software will also be included in the Android 4.2 operating system, and the company reports that its software is designed to enable an open interface between the NFC controller and the main application processor by supporting NFC Forum specifications, including the NFC Controller Interface (NCI), thus eliminating proprietary ties between software and hardware. By contributing its NFC software stack to Android, Broadcom says it will ensure that applications will work across the entire range of future smartphones and tablets. Broadcom's BCM20793 NFC chip will be the first in a family of products to leverage the Android software stack.

NFC-Enabled Mobile Payments Coming to Australia
Australians who subscribe to cell phone service provider Vodafone Vodafone will soon be able to make mobile payments. Vodafone and Visa are teaming up to launch a mobile payments application that leverages Near Field Communication (NFC) and payWav, Visa's contactless payment technology. The solution, expected to be made available in early 2013, will allow consumers using their smartphones to pay for everyday goods, such as newspapers or groceries, by waving the handset in front of a contactless payment terminal. Higher-value purchases can also be made with the solution, though consumers will need to enter a PIN in addition to waving their smartphone by the terminal. The Vodafone SmartPass application—the first result of a partnership formed by Visa and Vodafone earlier this year—is based on a virtual Visa reloadable prepaid card, stored on an NFC-enabled subscriber identity module (SIM). Once the app is activated, customers can load funds using their existing Visa or MasterCard debit or credit cards. The app is protected by layers of security, according to the two companies. In addition to the use of a PIN for higher-value purchases, each transaction is backed by Visa's global processing network and is analyzed for fraud in real time, while Vodafone SmartPass accounts can be deactivated in the event of a lost or stolen phone. Like all Visa transactions, Vodafone SmartPass is protected by Visa's Zero Liability policy. The solution has been built in collaboration with Visa, Vodafone, ANZ (the bank providing the prepaid card, and the acquiring bank for loading funds) and Rêv, a prepaid payment processor that connects into VisaNet to process the transactions. The beta-testing program will employ Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphones equipped with the Vodafone SmartPass app, according to the companies. The Vodafone SmartPass app will be accepted at hundreds of thousands of payWave-enabled contactless terminals across Australia and around the world, including large retailers Coles, Woolworths, JB Hifi, McDonalds and Bunnings Warehouse.

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