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Tagtual The one stop shop for NFC - Near Field Communication - News

Tagtual The one stop shop for NFC - Near Field Communication

Pizza Hut installs Bluetooth beacons at 1,471 locations in China


Pizza Hut China

Some 1,471 Pizza Hut restaurants in mainland China have installed Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons from Sensoro to send out coupons, WeChat movie ticket prizes, special offers and discounts directly to customers’ smartphones.


“Customers in Pizza Hut restaurants just need to turn on Bluetooth on their mobile devices and open up the ‘Shake’ feature on WeChat to get a chance to receive discounts or gifts such as free movie tickets or prizes,” Sensoro says. “Customers can also easily view the menu by interacting with the iBeacon content.”

“The comprehensive use of iBeacon technology to create smart restaurants is intended to improve the customer experience and improve customer service, while also upgrading brand image to attract more customers,” says Pizza Hut.

Sensoro launched a joint venture with Chinese chain store operator Cyber Group last month to roll out BLE beacons across Japan and the Greater China region.


Source: http://www.nfcworld.com/2015/09/22/337976/pizza-hut-installs-bluetooth-beacons-at-1471-locations-in-china/

Fido Alliance adds authentication support for NFC and BLE

The Fido Alliance has added new NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transport protocols to its Universal Second Factor (U2F) authentication specification. “With these new transport specifications, Fido U2F is appropriate for mobile and wireless applications and devices that do not have a USB port,” the organisation says.

“The U2F Bluetooth transport specification allows the creation of special-purpose BLE U2F devices that require just the press of a button to authenticate to an online service. In addition, phones and peripherals, which consume more power, can be programmed to act as U2F devices using either BLE or Bluetooth Classic.

“The U2F NFC transport specification allows the creation of portable U2F devices such as credit cards and key fobs that are simply tapped against the target device to authenticate to an online service. Alternately, a mobile phone with NFC capability can be programmed to act as an NFC U2F device. The user taps the mobile phone onto a target device to authenticate.”

Launched in 2013, Fido (Fast IDentity Online) is an open security authentication concept that aims to allow users to replace passwords with a range of authentication methods, including NFC and biometrics. It published final drafts of version 1.0 and U2F specifications in December 2014 before announcing NTT Docomo as the world’s first mobile network operator to deploy the authentication throughout its network in May.

“The addition of NFC and Bluetooth support in Fido U2F illustrates our commitment to ensure Fido standards are flexible, extensible and future-proof by design,” says Fido Alliance executive director Brett McDowell. “With this strategy, Fido standards will continue to see accelerated industry adoption as we move ever closer to our goal of ubiquitous Fido authentication that is more secure, private and easy to use.”

“Support for Bluetooth and NFC solidifies the mobile and wireless story around Fido’s U2F authentication protocol,” adds Stina Ehrensvard, CEO and founder of Fido Alliance member company Yubico. “Now end-users can enjoy the high security, account integrity and ease of use of U2F strong authentication on any of their devices.”


Source: http://www.nfcworld.com/2015/07/01/336359/fido-alliance-adds-authentication-support- for-nfc-and-ble/

PREIT installs BLE beacons in US malls

Retail shopping mall ownerPennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) is to roll out Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons in its shopping centres in 12 US states, allowing retailers and brands to trigger offers and information in shoppers’ smartphones. The company has partnered with beacon advertising network Mobiquity Networks, which is now working in more than 320 malls hosting 7,500 retailers.



Source: http://www.nfcworld.com/2015/08/26/337268/preit-installs-ble-beacons-in-us-malls/

HID adds BLE to digital keys platform

ID card provider HID Global has begun beta testing a new version of its Seos mobile keys platform that adds Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support to its existing NFC functionality. The addition means that users will also be able to use their mobile phone to access services, such as car parks, that can benefit from a longer read range than that provided by NFC, HID’s Sylvia Edmands has told NFC World+.

Three companies are currently piloting the new platform with about 80 users ahead of a planned launch to partners later this year.

Seos currently enables NFC phones to be used to replace mechanical keys and access cards in homes, hotels, offices, hospitals, universities and commercial buildings, and was first introduced by access control giant Assa Abloy — owner of HID Global, Yale, Vingcard Elsafe and more — in September 2012.

“Seos is an enabling technology that allows us to issue credentials to a phone, revoke credentials from a phone, manage the users on the phone, manage the experience on the phone and also talk securely between a phone and a reader,” Edmands, vice president of mobile solutions at HID Global, says.

“What we are trying to do is open doors, open readers, gain access into buildings using a mobile phone. In the past, ourselves and also other players in the market have been trying to do that using NFC. What Bluetooth gives us in addition to NFC is longer reach distance.

“We think that is going to be really interesting for people trying to use it to open gates in parking garage areas for example, or car parking areas. Also in warehouse areas where you are trying to move through doors and you don’t want to leave a load in the centre of the road and walk around and open the reader.

“Another application for it could be remote buildings where you would want to place the reader on the inside of the door to protect against vandalism or excessive temperatures. Those are really applications where Bluetooth adds a lot of value because it has the longer reach.

“What Bluetooth also offers is iOS support and a lot of our customers in the past, when we have talked to them about mobile access, thought it was a shame that they couldn’t use their iPhones. We can now, with Bluetooth, also support the iOS platform.

“We started to develop before host card emulation (HCE) became available and therefore, for us, NFC and the time to market was slow because of the integration with third parties. That wasn’t really a viable way forward.

“So, we started experimenting with Bluetooth and realised there are a lot of really good applications that you can do with Bluetooth as well. Now that HCE is available, we really support both.

“It really depends on the customer; if they have a lot of iPhones they want to use, then I am sure iOS is a good way of opening doors. If they actually just want a tap-in experience, or they want to use maybe garage access with longer range, then maybe Bluetooth on the garage and NFC on the rest of the doors. But it really depends very much on how the customer wants to use it and how the site is laid out.”


Source: http://www.nfcworld.com/2014/06/24/329922/hid-adds-ble-digital-keys-platform/

Google introduces Eddystone, a new open format for BLE beacons

Google has introduced an open format for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons that is designed to address the shortcomings of existing beacon services and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.


Existing beacons can be made to support the Eddystone format with a simple firmware update, Google says.


Eddystone offers security through a feature called Ephemeral Identifiers (EIDs), beacon IDs that change frequently, allowing only authorised clients to decode them. Developers can also attach cloud-based data to beacons, with the information being looked up and passed to their app by the Eddystone service whenever a relevant beacon comes into range.


The company has also introduced APIs to help developers build apps and services using the technology and a platform to manage supported beacons, monitoring their battery life and also reporting if a device has been moved from its intended location. Google will also begin to improve its own products and services, such as Google Maps and Google Now, with beacons supporting the format.


Eddystone is already being used across all of Portland’s TriMetstations in the US to deliver real- ime transit information including schedules and alerts to passengers’ smartphones as a result of a partnership with beacon manufacturer Bluvision to deploy “several hundred” beacons with support for the format.


Google has also partnered with a number of other beacon manufacturers including Bkon, Estimote, Kontakt.io, Radius Networks and Signal360 to build Eddystone-compliant beacons and to test and validate the new format.


Working closely with partners in the BLE beacon industry, we’ve learned a lot about the needs and the limitations of existing beacon technology, engineering director Chandu Thota and product manager Matthew Kulick write in a blogpost. So we set out to build a new class of beacons that addresses real-life use-cases, cross-platform support, and security.


It supports multiple frame types for different use cases and it supports versioning to make introducing new functionality easier. Eddystone’s extensible frame formats allow hardware manufacturers to support multiple mobile platforms and application scenarios with a single piece of hardware.


At the core, we built Eddystone as an open and extensible protocol that’s also interoperable, so we’ll also introduce an Eddystone certification process in the near future by closely working with hardware manufacturing partners.


As businesses move from validating their beacon-assisted apps to deploying beacons at scale in places like stadiums and transit stations, hardware installation and maintenance can be challenging, Google adds.


Starting today, beacons that implement Eddystone’s telemetry frame (Eddystone-TLM) in combination with the Proximity Beacon API’s diagnostic endpoint can help deployers monitor their beacons’ battery health and displacement — common logistical challenges with low-cost beacon hardware.


Privacy and security are really important, so we built in a feature called Ephemeral Identifiers (EIDs) which change frequently and allow only authorised clients to decode them. EIDs will enable you to securely do things like find your luggage once you get off the plane or find your lost keys.


Eddystone offers two key developer benefits; better semantic context and precise location,” the blog post continues. “To support these, we’re launching two new APIs. The Nearby APIfor Android and iOS makes it easier for apps to find and communicate with nearby devices and beacons, such as a specific bus stop or a particular art exhibit in a museum, providing better context.


The Proximity Beacon API lets developers associate semantic location (ie a place associated with a lat/long) and related data with beacons, stored in the cloud. This API will also be used in existing location APIs, such as the next version of the Places API.


We’re also starting to improve Google’s own products and services with beacons, the authors add. “Google Maps launched beacon-based transit notifications in Portland earlier this year to help people get faster access to real-time transit schedules for specific stations.


“Soon, Google Now will also be able to use this contextual information to help prioritize the most relevant cards, like showing you menu items when you’re inside a restaurant.”


“We are excited by the possibilities Eddystone enables,” says James Buchheim, CEO of Bluvision. “The ability to provide valuable interaction and content is a key to realising the true potential of the Internet of Things.


Supporting Google in testing Eddystone and in deployments like the TriMet rail solution was a fantastic experience. This deployment is just one example of how Eddystone will deliver rich experiences to smartphone users.


Source: http://www.nfcworld.com/2015/07/15/336661/google-introduces-eddystone-a-new- open-format-for-ble-beacons/

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