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At Fujifilm UK's RFID-enabled Kiosks, Consumers Can Tap N Print

The company is installing Smartrac NFC tags on 150 SmartPix kiosks deployed in Britain, enabling NFC phone users to quickly upload photos, via Bluetooth, for a variety of printing services.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 27, 2012Photography equipment and services provider Fujifilm UK is testing a Near Field Communication (NFC)-based solution to pair mobile phones with kiosks during Bluetooth transmissions, thereby enabling consumers to print or order pictures stored on their mobile phones, simply by tapping the phone and selecting which items to order or print. The system, dubbed Tap N Print, makes it easier to upload photos via a phone's Bluetooth functionality. Normally, to print pictures, a user has first needed to establish a Bluetooth connection by pressing buttons on the phone, in order to pair it with the kiosk for each photo to be printed. But for anyone using one of approximately 150 trial RFID-enabled Fujifilm kiosks, it is a matter of simply selecting pictures, and then transmitting them all at once to the kiosk for printing or other services, after tapping an NFC RFID tag on the kiosk.

The trial was launched at 22 stores, with the first installations taking place last month. Once the kiosks (which have Smartrac BullsEye RFID tags attached to them) have all been in service for four months, Fujifilm UK plans to evaluate the results. According to Julia Tiller, Fujifilm UK's product support manager of software and systems, the company has already noticed an uptick in Bluetooth-based transactions at the Tap N Print NFC-enabled kiosks—indicating, perhaps, that the NFC functionality is making Bluetooth easier to use.

Fujifilm UK has RFID-enabled 150 kiosks, in a variety of stores across Great Britain.
More than 3,500 Fujifilm kiosks are installed at a variety of stores across Great Britain, including at several small independent stores and large chain retailers. The kiosks, employing an operating system known as "SmartPix," let a consumer print pictures, burn a CD or order a book, mug, shoulder bag or other product with that person's photos printed on it. The kiosk can download images stored on a digital camera, disk or thumb drive. However, consumers are increasingly utilizing the cameras built into their mobile phones to shoot photographs. In that case, a customer would need to transfer the images directly from the phone to the kiosk, which is typically accomplished via a Bluetooth connection.

To conduct a Bluetooth transaction, the user would typically place the phone within range of the kiosk, follow instructions to pair the phone with the kiosk, and select an image to send the photographs. If using another kiosk, the customer must again pair his phone with that kiosk. If printing multiple pictures simultaneously, he must follow instructions to pair and then send each individual photo.

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