Paying for lunch with a mobile phone became true today with the launch of the first Italian project for the dematerialization of paper-based meal vouchers through NFC technology.
To effectively address the growing demand of innovative solutions in transactions, Edenred, market leader and inventor of the Ticket Restaurant®, together with the NFC & Mobile Payment Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic, promoted the testing of Ticket Restaurant Mobile, an application that offers users the chance to pay for meals by using a mobile phone, with no need for paper-based or electronic mediums. The key partners in the project are Research In Motion (RIM), creators of BlackBerry® smartphones, Ingenico Italia, leader in electronic payment solutions, and Reply, specialized in the design and implementation of solutions based on the new digital media and communication channels.
The testing phase involves about 80 users from a renowned campus in Milan, equipped with BlackBerry® Curve™ 9380 smartphones, Over the next six months, they will be able to test the new application with a network of 60 affiliated merchants (cafeterias, restaurants, markets) near the University, fitted with POS Ingenico iCT250 with iST150 contactless reader. This way, they can quickly pay their bill without pressing any key, but simply by bringing the handset near the contactless reader installed at the merchant and complete the transaction in less than three seconds.
The strength of Ticket Restaurant Mobile lies not only in its intuitive interface, but also in the new and interesting geolocation tools of the affiliated merchants and the additional user services. Users will be able to check the status of their transactions, search for merchants nearby and visualize the map to get there thanks to the "Search Restaurants" function. The application will also allow them to share information and comments on the restaurants: thanks to the "Social" function, users will be able to vote their favourite restaurant or invite friends to lunch. Users will also have access to a platform dedicated to food and physical fitness, with personalized nutritional advice and suggestions provided by the experts of Pausa Mediterranea, the nutritional program launched by Edenred to promote correct and healthy habits at lunchtime.
Andrea Keller, Smart Solutions Director at Edenred claims that: "the market shift towards an increasing dematerialization of services and payments represents a tremendous opportunity for all those companies who wish to stay abreast of the challenges of innovation: Edenred is ever alert to the new trends and to the needs of affiliates and consumers, who demand increasingly fast, simple and safe transactions. This important testing project marks a watershed for the entire industry and charts the path for the future development of meal vouchers. The new Ticket Restaurant Mobile application will help provide users with further advanced services, broadening the range of solutions and making marketing and communication tools available to companies and affiliated merchants".
We were really thrilled from the very start to take part in the Ticket Restaurant Mobile project, a true milestone in the future of mobile commerce in Italy through contactless payment systems. Regarding NFC technology, which is available on most of the latest BlackBerry smartphones launched on the market, RIM is one of the world's key innovators, with its strong and consolidated commitment to spreading the benefits to both the industry and end users. Moreover, Near Field Communication is a technology that can enable increasingly innovative and high added value services, with application opportunities that remain mostly unexplored", adds Antonio Donadoni, Alliance Manager - Italy of Research In Motion.
We are proud of taking part in this innovative project - emphasizes Massimo Delucca, Sales Director of Ingenico Italia. Unlike the numerous NFC start-ups launched in the e-money field, for the first time ever, it represents a contactless approach dedicated to the management of a service, rather than of a payment, to replace paper-based meal vouchers with mobile meal vouchers, improving user experience. We hope the new service becomes a new standard for identification and restaurant services for clients, thanks to the integration with mobile services available on smartphones, for instance by allowing users to reserve a table or order a menu at affiliated restaurants and cafeterias, or even facilitating promotions made by merchants, who can send offers and invitations directly to the user's device".
Ticket Restaurant Mobile - says Filippo Rizzante, CTO of Reply - is a project that sets the pace towards the innovation of traditional services, and underscores the importance of both mobility services and the dematerialization of paper-based processes. A field Reply believes in and has been investing in for quite a while now. For Ticket Restaurant Mobile, Reply has, in particular, developed applications that make it possible to automatically identify a user at the restaurant doorstep, to spend a ticket restaurant and pay for a meal by using a NFC-enabled smartphone, and enable the SOCIAL component of the new service, which allows users, for instance, to invite their friends at lunch or to post comments on the restaurants they went to."