IKEA releases its line of wireless charging furniture


The IKEA Wireless Charging furniture collection, includes bedside tables, floor-and table lamps, desks and simple charging pads. Credit: IKEA

IKEA has launched its Wireless Charging collection of furniture, which has built-in Qi-enabled wireless chargers for compatible mobile phones.

In addition to offering bedside tables, floor- and table lamps, desks and simple charging pads, IKEA is also selling a DIY kit that lets users embed wireless chargers into furniture of their choice.


The furniture, and other items in IKEA’s wireless charging collection, ranges in price from $9.99 to $119.

The Wireless Charging collection will be rolled out globally, with U.S. stores seeing availability beginning in late spring, IKEA said today in a statement.

“With smartphones becoming such a natural part of our lives, we wanted the charging part to become a natural part of our homes,” Holly Harraway, IKEA’s lighting sales leader, said.


The furniture uses the most popular wireless charging specification, Qi, which is supported by brands such as Samsung and Energizer and has gotten an extension to its specification allowing it to charge devices at short distances

Users can check whether their mobile phone is compatible with the Qi standard at the Wireless Power Consortium’s this website.

The WPC with its Qi specification is up against two other industry organizations with their own wireless charging protocols: the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP).

To see more information and more photos follow this link to Computerworld for the full story.


Ingenic unveils developer board for wearable devices with NFC


ALL-IN-ONE: Ingenic Newton board can be used to create wearable NFC devices

Chinese embedded CPU provider Ingenic Semiconductor has unveiled a MIPS-based developer board that can be used to create wearable, healthcare and industrial devices that include a wide range of environmental sensors and wireless communications interfaces.

The Ingenic Newton is a single board similar in size to an SD card. It includes a MIPS CPU and memory plus a humidity and temperature module; a three axis gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer; an ECG bio-sensor; and a 4-in-1 wireless module that supports WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and BLE, FM radio and NFC. The platform supports both Android and Linux.

“The three-axis gyroscope, accelerometer [and] magnetometer can track your movement and help the CPU compute how many miles you’ve walked, for example,” MIPS technology owner Imagination Technologies has told NFC World.

“The pressure, humidity and temperature sensor can give you an idea of the weather environment you’re in and it helps people who are [sensitive] to these factors be aware of potential health hazards.”

“Finally, the bio-signal detection sensor can monitor your heart rate and notify you, your relatives or your family doctor if you’re having any potential health issues.”

“By integrating all these components on a single PCB, device manufactures save costs — since they have one component that can do everything they need — and reduce area,” the company explained. “This platform can be integrated in various devices together with other components, and create devices that are much more aware of their surrounding and can communicate easily with the user.”

Source: NFC World

Scanther Offers Merchant Tags Via QR, SMS and NFC-Enabled Signs

US startup Scanther is raising funds on Indiegogo for a combined mobile website plus NFC tag package for independent retailers.

The service is designed to enable small merchants to market their businesses via QR, SMS and NFC-enabled counter signs, window decals and table top signs that link directly to a custom mobile-optimized website.

Source: NFC World

SecureKey Signs with Enstream to Provide Mobile Credentials

Customers of Canadian mobile operators Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus will be able to use NFC for secure authentication and identification after the EnStream mobile commerce joint venture signed a deal with credential issuer SecureKey.

SecureKey recently launched an authentication service for the Government of Canada that enables Canadians to use their bank authentication credentials to obtain access to online government services like pension, tax and benefits. The initiative is part of the Canadian government’s Federated Identity Management strategy, which promotes the interoperability of security credentials to create a lower cost, more convenient, and more secure authentication ecosystem for consumers and business.

“Our partnership with SecureKey gives Canadians an innovative and valuable solution that can be used with services from government, healthcare providers and financial institutions,” said Enstream’s Almis Ledas. “SecureKey is the first credential issuer to announce that it will make use of our ability to deploy secure credentials on SIM-based secure elements for mobile carriers in Canada.”

Source: NFC World

How Wireless Charging Can Drive Near-Field Communications Growth

At CES 2013, the Wireless Power Consortium displayed dozens of devices that were designed to the Qi wireless charging standard, suggesting that 2013 may be the year wireless charging becomes a feature consumers expect to come standard in new smartphones.

Nokia and HTC already offer smartphones with Qi technology integrated directly, such as the Lumia 920 and Droid DNA. For more popular smartphones that were not developed with Qi compatibility, including Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3, third-party manufacturers have developed smartphone cases with integrated Qi technology. The cases themselves plug into the phone’s power dock and relay a charge received when the encased phone is placed on a wireless power source.

Further facilitating the rise of wireless charging is the Qi standard’s compatibility. Although manufacturers can build wirelessly charging devices on their own, the standard dictates that all Qi-enabled devices are compatible with all Qi-enabled power sources. That means a wireless charging pad developed by Nokia could charge a smartphone built by HTC, and so on. Best of all, it means smartphone users will never again need to scramble for a power cord that fits into the custom-designed power dock on their phones.

But what does the impending rise of wirelessly charging smartphones have to do with the growth of near-field communications (NFC) technology?

At CES, the WPC booth also displayed several new components designed to facilitate the integration of the Qi wireless charging technology. One component on display, developed by TDK, integrated both Qi wireless technology and NFC into a single chip.

As these components become smaller, cheaper, and easier to integrate into devices, Bas Fransen, chief marketing officer at ConvenientPower, says manufacturers will ship more smartphones featuring both wireless charging and NFC.

“The beauty of Qi is that the receiver actually is very simple and low in cost; that has been the objective as mobile phone OEMs demand ultra-low-cost adders,” Fransen says. “So, indeed, once those chips are ready, it will be simple for mobile phone OEMs to integrate Qi and NFC.”

Some smartphones already feature both NFC and Qi. At CES, Fransen placed an NFC/Qi-enabled smartphone on top of a similarly outfitted JBL boombox, which charged the device while streaming audio through its speakers wirelessly.

However, the Qi and NFC technologies were integrated separately in the manufacturing process of some of these devices, which is why phones that boast both capabilities have been so rare to this point. But as manufacturers look to set their devices apart from those of their competitors, Fransen says the integration of NFC and wireless charging will become a common trend by the second half of 2013.

The integration is relatively simple, Fransen says. The NFC and Qi systems will simply operate “next to each other on one single ‘die.'” The result will be a less expensive method by which manufacturers can tout new capabilities on their products.

“The easier and cheaper we all make it for mobile phone OEMs, the faster technologies get adopted,” Fransen says.

Of course, some obstacles still stand in the way. Near-field communications has long been touted as the future of mobile payments, but while Google Wallet uses the technology for its smartphone payment technology, Apple famously passed on the technology for its mobile payment app on the iPhone 5. At the time, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller told All Things D that NFC does not necessarily solve any current problems smartphone users face. Considering that the technology had already been criticized by eBay CEO John Donahoe, who has joked that NFC should stand for “Not For Commerce,” the snub likely did not improve public opinion on the technology.

Steve Goacher, business development manager for wireless power at Texas Instruments, says “there is no reason why these two solutions cannot be combined.” However, he points out that integrating NFC and Qi technologies could result in efficiency and cost of the final solution, if it’s not perfected before the component is shipped.

Consumers will also need to find places to use NFC. In order for an NFC-enabled device to complete a transaction, it needs to be scanned by an NFC reader. That means merchants will need to jump onboard as well.

This process will take some time, but the shift is indeed expected to happen. Gartner predicts a 42% annual growth rate for mobile payment transactions will result in a $617 billion market of 448 million users by 2016.

“NFC payment involves a change in user behavior and requires collaboration among stakeholders that includes banks, mobile carriers, card networks and merchants,” Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, said in a May 2012 report. “It takes time for both to happen, so we don’t expect NFC payments to come into the mass market before 2015. In the meantime, ticketing, rather than retail payment, will drive NFC transactions.”

Source: Network World

Bluebird To Cut Care Costs By Using NFC

Sixty care workers in the UK’s Bath and North East Somerset area have begun using NFC phones to log their visits to clients’ homes.

Bluebird Care is using Advanced Health & Care’s iConnect Service to record workers’ arrival and departure times at customers’ homes via NFC as well as to deliver real-time task lists and data to the care workers’ mobile phones.

“The use of iConnect will improve efficiencies and provide us with greater transparency around care delivery,” explains Tim Rowland Jones, managing director of the local Bluebird Care franchise. “We’ll know exactly when our care workers arrive and leave customers’ homes and there will no longer be a reliance on paper rosters and follow-up phone calls between the office and care workers when appointments need rearranging.”

The switch to iConnect is expected to reduce phone costs by 10% and paper, printing and postage costs by 50%.

“We are committed to providing the very best quality of care to our 200 customers,” says Rowland Jones. “This latest mobile solution will ensure we continue to provide the highest levels of service whilst operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.”

Source: NFC World

RIM Receives Approval from Visa for Mobile Payment Solution

RIM has been one of the companies on the forefront of bringing NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to mobile devices. BlackBerry users with certain model devices including the Bold 9900 and other BlackBerry devices running OS 7 and 7.1 have NFC built-in to the phone. Upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices will have NFC capabilities as well, and this is great news for RIM and BlackBerry users looking to use their device to make mobile payments in the future through Visa. Visa has approved RIM for a mobile payment solution using NFC on BlackBerry devices.

The press release is below with details.

Press Release

WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – January 16, 2013) – Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM)(TSX: RIM) today announced that its Secure Element Manager (SEM) solution for NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile payments has been approved by Visa. RIM’s SEM is the backend solution for carriers that can securely manage credentials on SIM (subscriber identity module) cards installed in all types of NFC-capable mobile devices.

“The approval from Visa of RIM’s SEM solution is an important step in that it will enable carriers to support Visa issuing banks and financial institutions,” said Frank Maduri, Senior Director, NFC Services and TSM Product Management at RIM. “We now offer carriers a robust solution with around-the-clock global support that works on any NFC-capable device, and meets the stringent technology and usability guidelines for Visa.”

“RIM’s success in gaining Visa’s formal approval as secure element manager is a crucial step in expanding RIM’s role as a key security partner for mobile payment solutions around the globe,” said Andy Castonguay, Principal Analyst, at Informa Telecoms & Media. “RIM’s secure network operations center provides a unique combination of global geographic reach, and has established trusted relationships with hundreds of carriers around the world with an unparalleled reputation for security, which sets RIM apart as an SEM partner in the growing mobile payments space.”

Today’s announcement from RIM builds on the recent deployment of mobile payments in Canada by EnStream, a joint venture of Bell, Rogers and TELUS, which uses RIM’s SEM solution.

Airline, WiFi and Testing Groups Sign Collaboration Agreements With The NFC Forum

The NFC Forum has signed collaboration agreements with three industry consortia, the International Air Transport Alliance (IATA), the WiFi Alliance and the Global Certification Forum (GCF).

“The goal of the alliances is to facilitate joint work to further the adoption, reach, and impact of NFC technology in key markets and industries, including mobile communications, air travel, and Wi-Fi communications,” says the NFC Forum. “Collaborative activities will include work on market education, global interoperability, and mobile testing.”

IATA is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 240 airlines that account for 84% of total air traffic. IATA plans to work with the NFC Forum to raise awareness in the market, and help build the ecosystem for NFC. The agreement will include outreach programs such as workshops for airlines and airports, white papers, case studies, webcasts, and events.

“Through programs like Simplifying the Business, IATA continues to explore new standards and technologies to increase customer satisfaction and improve aviation’s efficiency,” says Aleks Popovich, IATA’s senior VP for industry distribution and financial services. “Near field communication offers the potential to support IATA’s Fast Travel initiative, which is aimed at meeting passenger demands for more self-service options. We look forward to our collaboration with the NFC Forum on this exciting opportunity.”

The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit industry association of hundreds of companies devoted to seamless connectivity. Under the new agreement, the Wi-Fi Alliance and the NFC Forum will exchange approved documents, share information about program schedules, work jointly on NFC Forum Application Documents describing the use of NFC for Wi-Fi network configuration, cooperate on shared marketing material to promote certification programs, and participate in joint events.

“We are pleased to collaborate more closely with the NFC Forum under the terms of our liaison agreement,” says Wi-Fi Alliance president and CEO Edgar Figueroa. “Coordination between our organizations will help deliver a good user experience and exciting new applications of our technologies.”

GCF is a partnership of network operators, device manufacturers, and the test industry that has created an independent certification program to help ensure global interoperability between mobile devices and networks. Under their liaison agreement, GCF and the NFC Forum will work together to identify certification requirements impacting NFC-enabled Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless devices. The partners will also develop processes and procedures to ensure the robustness, reliability, and transparency of NFC-enabled 3GPP wireless device certification and deliver joint announcements and collaborative marketing programs.

“Our certification scheme is built on an ethos of ‘test once, use anywhere’ and provides a global benchmark for the interoperability of mobile handsets and connected devices,” says Adriana Nugter, GCF’s operations manager. “Through collaboration with the NFC Forum and other industry organisations, GCF strives to streamline testing requirements for wireless devices embedding multiple technologies.”

“As NFC technology reaches into many new markets and industries, the NFC Forum is working to make the process as smooth and effective as possible by collaborating with leadership organizations that share our goals,” explains Koichi Tagawa, chairman of the NFC Forum. “These new agreements with Global Certification Forum, the International Air Transport Association, and the Wi-Fi Alliance will expedite the availability and use of more globally interoperable NFC-enabled solutions. We look forward to sharing long and productive partnerships with these organizations.”

Source: NFC World

NFC-enabled Smartphones to Replace Cars Keys By 2015

NFC-enabled smartphones have the potential to replace nearly everything else in your pockets, so why not your car keys? Hyundai is working to do just that, with an embedded NFC tag that allows you to open your car, start the engine and link up to the touchscreen with a simple swipe.

Hyundai outfitted its i30 compact hatch (aka the Elantra in the States) with NFC technology in its “Connectivity Concept” recently shown at its European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. The idea is simple: Nix the key fob and let your smartphone handle it all.

According to the Korean automaker, the driver can swipe their phone across an embedded NFC chip to unlock the car, and once inside, the place the phone in the center console, allowing the car to start, while an inductive charging plate keeps the juice flowing without needing to plug in.

“With this technology, Hyundai is able to harness the all-in-one functionality of existing smartphone technology and integrate it into everyday driving in a seamless fashion,” says Allan Rushforth, senior vice president and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe.

But unlocking and starting the car is only part of a wider connectivity solution for Hyundai.

Because the system can recognize different smartphones, it can customize the in-car experience to suit each driver’s seat, mirror and infotainment settings.

Once the phone is in the console, it links up with the 7-inch touchscreen mounted in the dash, and Hyundai is employing the Car Connectivity Consortium’s MirrorLink standard to automatically import contacts, navigation destinations, streaming audio and apps.

Despite forging dozens of automaker partnerships, MirrorLink hasn’t caught on with many manufacturers yet. That’s mainly due to concerns about driver distraction and how certain apps would be ported to the integrated screen, modifying the user interface to suit a more driver-focused experience. But that’s about to change as MirrorLink begins gaining momentum.

Hyundai and its connectivity partners at Broadcom are working to get this NFC- and MirrorLink-driven technology to market in its next generation of products, with the automaker claiming to have many of these systems in place by 2015.

Via: Wired

RIM’s Secure Element Manager Solution to Power NFC mobile payments in Canada

RIM has been developing a system designed to securely manage credentials on SIM cards that will work on all types of various mobile devices to bring NFC payment capabilities to consumers.

EnStream LP, the joint venture between Bell Mobility Inc., Rogers Wireless Partnership and TELUS Communications Company announced today that RIM’s Secure Element Manager Solution is to be used to power NFC mobile payments in Canada.

“Working with EnStream, we’re delivering a service that will enable speed, security and convenience in mobile, contactless payment. RIM’s SEM solution will help deliver mobile payments and other NFC services to all carriers across all handset platforms that support NFC technology in Canada.” According to Andrew MacLeod, Managing Director for Canada at RIM.

Press Release

RIM’s Secure Element Manager Solution to Power NFC Mobile Payments in Canada

WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Oct. 22, 2012) – Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today announced that it has been selected by EnStream LP, a joint venture of Bell Mobility Inc., Rogers Wireless Partnership and TELUS Communications Company, to provide its Secure Element Manager (SEM) solution to manage credentials on wireless handsets in Canada that support Near Field Communication (NFC) services. NFC is the technology that can make secure, convenient and contactless mobile payments a reality for Canadian wireless handset users.

RIM’s SEM solution is designed to securely manage credentials on SIM (subscriber identity module) cards installed in all types of mobile devices, including BlackBerry® smartphones, Android™ devices, and Windows phones. “We selected RIM for their long-standing relationships with mobile operators and financial institutions, and their track record of operating a secure network for connected services,” said Almis Ledas, Chief Operating Officer of EnStream. “By adopting the secure GSMA Global Platform standard and using SEM infrastructure hosted and operated by RIM, consumers and financial institutions can have full confidence in financial credentials enabled through EnStream.”

“More than 1 in 4 smartphones shipped worldwide in 2013 is expected to include NFC technology,” said senior practice director Jeff Orr of market intelligence firm ABI Research. “With an additional 5 million NFC-enabled smartphones shipping to Canada next year and upwards of 65 million over the next 5 years, consumers will increasingly turn to mobile payments instead of a separate debit or credit card.”

“RIM is very pleased to play a key role in this Canadian mobile payments solution,” said Andrew MacLeod, Managing Director for Canada at RIM. “Working with EnStream, we’re delivering a service that will enable speed, security and convenience in mobile, contactless payment. RIM’s SEM solution will help deliver mobile payments and other NFC services to all carriers across all handset platforms that support NFC technology in Canada.”

Through the infrastructure that RIM’s SEM solution provides, financial institutions in Canada will have a single gateway allowing them to support any customer with an NFC-enabled smartphone that wants to enable a “mobile wallet” application. RIM’s SEM solution provides the infrastructure that will securely manage information credentials for NFC payments, which can be used by any financial institution, carrier, or smartphone.

“For banks and for Canadian consumers, RIM’s SEM solution is designed to make payment with your smartphone both seamless and secure. Whether you’re filling your gas tank, picking up a coffee, or buying groceries, making a purchase will be as simple as tapping your smartphone,” added MacLeod.

RIM has been recognized as a leader in providing mobile payments for some time with BlackBerry smartphones becoming one of the first smartphones to be certified for SIM-secure NFC payments using MasterCard PayPass®, and are also approved for use with Visa® payWave. More recently, RIM announced the ability to use NFC-enabled BlackBerry smartphones to replace access badges for buildings with secure entry requirements.

Currently, a range of BlackBerry® 7 smartphones, including the BlackBerry® Bold™ series and select BlackBerry® Curve™ smartphones, are NFC-enabled.

About Research In Motion

Research In Motion (RIM), a global leader in wireless innovation, revolutionized the mobile industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry® solution in 1999. Today, BlackBerry products and services are used by millions of customers around the world to stay connected to the people and content that matter most throughout their day. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. RIM is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ:RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:RIM). For more information, visit www.rim.com or www.blackberry.com.

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