Hong Kong — With over 100 million RFID (radio frequency identification) travel smart cards in circulation, Asia Pacific is the world-leader for secure and convenient travel. Experts believe that this tech savvy region could be the first adopters of NFC (near field communication) enabled mobile payment technology for their next mobility solutions.
Asia Pacific’s early adopters
Hong Kong was the first region to employ an RFID smart card system in 1997 called the Octopus. The cards are now used by 95% of the population with 11 million transactions daily across metro, buses, ferries and more than 10,000 retail outlets in the city. Many Asia Pacific cities and regions now use similar cards. Major cities in Japan use lots of different types of transport cards, Beijing and Shanghai commuters use the Yikatong, Singaporeans use the EZ-Link smart card, Taiwan has the EasyCard and most recently (December) New Delhi’s government launched a “Common Mobility Card” called More. New Zealand is currently working with Octopus to develop a transport card for 2012.
The future for technology and transport – NFC and mobile payments
With advances in NFC technology and an increasingly strong support from the government, it is expected that NFC mobile phone payments may replace smart cards across major cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore in the future due to the fact that these cities have:
· A technology savvy urban population with more than 100% mobile phone penetration
· Governments strongly advocating the use of technology, including NFC, to manage transport
· An agreement between all local transport companies - bus, metro, ferry boat, taxi, etc. to take on transport/NFC projects co-ordinated by central government.
Isabelle Alfano, Director of CARTES events, Comexposium, said: “Major cities across Asia Pacific are way ahead of many countries around the world in terms of using smart cards. As RFID technology expands across the region into the smaller towns and cities it will bring many opportunities for suppliers of this technology. But at the same time, advances in NFC might mean that mobile payments could be the next step with the general public using their mobile phones to pay for their transport and groceries as well as many other utilities.
“With a mature contactless acceptance infrastructure already existing, mass transit ticketing has always been considered as the killer app in market development of NFC before it can be extended to other multi-application uses,” added Alfano.
Rewarding innovation in APAC: the Asian SESAMES Award
The Asian SESAMES Award rewards the best innovative technological application developed for the Asian Pacific market in the field of smart cards, digital security, identification, secure transactions, and contactless. The competition is open to all companies operating in the sector and the jury is composed of experts from the industry across Asia. The winner of the Asian SESAMES Award will be announced Wednesday 28 March 2012 during CARTES in Asia at the AsiaWorld-Expo. Companies interested in entering the awards should visit the www.cartes-asia.com.
CARTES in Asia exhibition and conference will showcase both RFID and NFC technologies at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong, 28 & 29 March 2012. This is a must-attend event for decision makers from government, transport, telecoms, banking, administrative, security and retail industries.
CARTES in Asia will be holding its third annual Near Field Communication (NFC) trade show in Hong Kong on 28th to 29th March 2012.