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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

Morän cites three key features of the new watch: "First, it has the quality, specification and looks of a traditional watch, combined with the freedom of not having to charge it," he says, since it uses a coin cell battery. Second, NFC technology allows Kronaby to add services over time "and, in that way, make it even more useful to our customers." The third feature, Morän says, is the convenience of having a payment system on a wrist, as opposed to it being in the form factor of a card or mobile phone. "There's no need to dig in your pockets or purse," he states. "Just reach out and tap and pay."

The wearable market will continue to grow as technology such as the STPay-Boost IC becomes available, Ravel predicts. "People are seeing mobility," he says. "They want to carry their credentials with them," and not have to take a wallet or smartphone out of their pocket. "I'm pretty confident the market will continue to expand from the card side to the wearable side."

Fidesmo's Mattias Eld
Additionally, Fidesmo offers integration into access-control systems and other solutions that leverage NFC transactions. In January 2018, the firm partnered with Bravida, an access-control systems provider, to build a solution by which wearables and Fidesmo NFC-enabled ID cards would provide access to facilities for individuals with the proper credentials. The system consists of Fidesmo's open software platform and Bravida's access-control services. Companies using the technology include employers that need the system to manage workers' access to buildings or campuses.

Germany's Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen (VDV), a cooperative agency for the nation's public-transit authorities—and the organization behind the contactless ticketing standard used in that country—serves Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and nine other regions. The agency is currently working with Fidesmo, using their NFC-enabled devices and cards to provide passengers with access to its modes of transit. The system is an integration between VDV's own software platform and Fidesmo's, storing keys and other data on the devices that connect with Fidesmo tags to make the latter an integrated part of the public-transit ticketing system.

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