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Swedish Watchmaker Brings NFC Payments to Its Smart Watches

Kronaby's Hybrid Smartwatch incorporates technologies from Fidesmo and STMicroelectronics that enable contactless payments, with access control and other functions slated for further use cases.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 12, 2018

Technology companies have been the prominent suppliers of smart watches in recent years, but one Swedish maker of connected watches, Kronaby, has turned that model on its head by selling a classic-looking wristwatch that incorporates the technology more commonly found in devices sold by companies like Apple or Samsung. Kronaby will soon offer Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality in its products, in order to enable payments, access control, transportation and promotional content, all with the tap of a wrist. Initially, the company is enabling payments via a user's MasterCard account.

The solution is provided by contactless technology firm Fidesmo and semiconductor company STMicroelectronics, which have teamed up to offer an NFC payment system-on-chip (SoC) for watches, jewelry and other wearables. The solution leverages STMicroelectronics' newly released STPay-Boost IC and Fidesmo's over-the-air (OTA) technology to personalize the NFC functionality on the wearable device, says Mattias Eld, Fidesmo's CEO.

Kronaby's Jonas Morän
Since 2017, Kronaby has offered its Hybrid Smartwatch with a Bluetooth connection to smartphones running the Kronaby app. It comes with a classical look with dial plate and hands, the company reports, but also can receive texts, e-mails or phone calls, control music on a phone or speaker, and automatically adjust to the proper time zone when a wearer is travelling. Recently, the company began looking into technology that could enable the watch to do more.

"First of all, the placement of a watch on your wrist makes it ideal for contactless interactions," says Jonas Morän, Kronaby's product manager. "Hybrid Smartwatches are all about allowing you to be connected to the digital world without being distracted by it. We will be launching several products that include the Fidesmo technology, starting in 2019."

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