PingPing and Alcatel-Lucent with its touchatag venture have agreed to work together to create an open model to encourage the development of new applications for contactless cards and mobile payment technology.
Contactless applications are the next step in the evolution of the "electronic wallet." Among other things, this technology makes it possible to pay for a service, such as a theater ticket or gas purchase, by simply waving a contactless card or mobile phone in front of the register or even a poster.
PingPing, an independent brand by Belgacom for mobile & micro payments, and touchatag, an Alcatel-Lucent Venture, have teamed to define a business model that combines PingPing's payment system for mobile phones and touchatag's contactless services, such as interactive advertising, loyalty programs and coupon services. By the fall of this year, Belgian consumers will be able to use one contactless card or sticker to initiate a variety of applications, as opposed to numerous cards currently required. Both parties will also support Near Field Communication (NFC) phones; these are devices that have a contactless reader and scanner built-in, as alternatives to contactless cards.
PingPing and touchatag will work together to create an accreditation program that will allow other technology suppliers, operators and application developers to develop new programs and uses for the technology.
By creating an open model, innovators can develop new applications and features that will expand and enhance the capabilities of the electronic wallet. With a single contactless card or RFID (radio frequency identification) sticker, a consumer will be able to access new services, add loyalty services, pay for services and receive information. For example, someone walking past a movie poster can use his phone to learn more about the movie, see recent reviews, check on movie times and seating availability and even buy a ticket for a particular showing, simply by holding his cell phone near the poster and clicking a few buttons.
"PingPing now wants to open up this technology to the creative power of many developers and we have adopted a very open approach to the market, and our cooperative agreement with touchatag is a logical extension of that approach," said Stijn Vander Plaetse, vice president Innovation at Belgacom. "We want to combine PingPing payment services with many new and exciting value-added services on one single contactless card or mobile phone, making it easier for the consumer and the companies they want to do business with."
Accor Services, which provides meal vouchers and other employee benefits, is the first company to trial the PingPing payment system in combination with touchatag's contactless applications. Alcatel-Lucent employees in Belgium have been using a contactless card with touchatag as a replacement for paper meal vouchers since June 2008. Accor Services has found that the service provides savings in the distribution, and is very user-friendly for the consumer.
It expects to extend the trial to include PingPing payment and a range of other services such as, interactive advertising applications, interactive displays, loyalty programs and coupons. These services can increase the value of the card to Accor Services' customers while contributing to Accor Services' efficiency.
"This cooperative relationship with PingPing will change the paradigm of payment and loyalty cards," said Anthony Belpaire, General Manager of the touchatag Venture. "Today, too many of us suffer from "fat wallet" syndrome as we place more and more payment cards and store loyalty cards into our wallets and back pockets. This technology enables us to pack all of that information on one card or even a mobile phone. With this card or phone, the consumer can easily complete a transaction or quickly download information on the spot. It will enable consumers to add the applications and information that they choose and make it possible for companies to expand their service offering to their customers."