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Wednesday, 07 December 2011 10:06

RIM teams with Tapit to tout NFC in Australia

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Following the recent launch in Australia of two NFC capable BlackBerry smartphones, Research In Motion has teamed up with Sydney NFC specialist Tapit to promote the use of NFC in phones.

RIM launched the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Curve 9360 earlier this year and in October announced that they had become the first SIM-based smartphones to be approved as PayPass devices by MasterCard Worldwide (PayPass is its technology that allows payments to be made with NFC enabled credit and debit cards simply by passing them across the card reader).

According to RIM, "With this certification, any MasterCard PayPass-issuing bank globally will be able to deploy MasterCard PayPass enabled accounts to the SIM card of these smartphones."

RIM's campaign with Tapit will see NFC - tagged posters and NFC - enabled tokens posted and handed out by street crews. Users of NFC enabled BlackBerries will be able to touch their phones to the posters or tokens to receive content about BlackBerry Messenger (an SMS substitute that operates only between BlackBerries) and BBM Music services (RIM's recently launched music download and sharing service) on their device.

Tapit was founded in March 2011. Its stated vision is "to revolutionise the way people use their mobile phones by simplifying the delivery of content using NFC as the enabler." In September Tapit teamed up with outdoor advertising company, JCDecaux  to create what was claimed to be Australia's first dedicated near field communications (NFC) out of home (OOH) advertising network.

Tapit said it would connect 240 panels across JCDecaux's street furniture inventory to Tapit systems to "enable advertisers to create OOH campaigns that consumers can interact with via their mobile phones."

Tapit founder and CEO, Jamie Conyngham, told iTWire at the time that he expected Australian to be using about 1.3m NFC enabled phones by September 2012. At that time the only NFC enabled phones on sale in Australia were the Google Nexus S, the Nokia C7 and the Huawei Sonic.

The main focus for NFC to date in the consumer space has been as a payment technology, but Conyngham told a RIM NFC briefing yesterday: "We think NFC is going to be huge in the marketing and information space. Billions of dollars have already gone into NFC payments but we feel that information and marketing is a huge area'¦Some analysts are forecasting the whole NFC area to be worth about Euro 115b by 2014-2015 with most handsets NFC enabled. NFC will be as ubiquitous as cameraphones'¦We see it as a disruptive technology."

'¢ RIM has also announced BlackBerry Tag, an NFC feature of the next BlackBerry 7 OS update. It will enable users of NFC enabled BlackBerries to share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content by simply tapping their BlackBerry smartphones together. They will also be able to instantly add one another as contacts on BlackBerry Messenger.

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