Nordic retailing group, ICA Ahold and Ericsson, have conducted the world's first payments trials with Bluetooth wireless technology in retail stores.
Using mobile phones with WAP and Bluetooth technologies, customers have been able to pay for goods, check their accounts and find out about promotions and special offers. According to the two companies, this has made the payments process faster and easier than regular purchasing methods using cash or credit card.
The purpose of the trial was to test payments and payment related services for customers, and to test Bluetooth wireless technology for communication in the retail store environment. The trial was conducted at an ICA store outside Stockholm equipped with Bluetooth coverage, using multiple Bluetooth access points, and Bluetooth networking server which provided connectivity to a cash register server and a payment processing system. The trial proves the use of Bluetooth in combination with GSM, WAP and web technologies, say the companies.
Ericsson is currently shipping a Bluetooth headset and next year will launch the R520 mobile phone with Bluetooth. Along with Bluetooth consumer products, chipsets and modules, Ericsson is also licensing its Bluetooth Intellectual Property. Its partner in the retail payment trial, ICA Ahold, has some 4,600 stores in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries.
Jan-Olof Jarnesjö, Manager of IT infrastructure at ICA, says: "The trial clearly demonstrated the opportunities in using mobile devices as payment instruments, with substantial convenience for people when shopping in our stores." He continues: "Bluetooth is a widely adopted specification and we believe that most people will have access to personal devices which support Bluetooth."
Jan Ahrenbring, Vice President Marketing and Communications at Ericsson Mobile Communications, says: "The wide range of industries represented by the more than 2000 companies in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group tells us there will be Bluetooth applications everywhere."