NXP Blog http://blog.nxp.com Secure connections for a smarter world - Technology news, commentary and trends Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:52:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 NFC is everywhere at CES, and that could win you money! http://blog.nxp.com/nfc-is-everywhere-at-ces-and-that-could-win-you-money/ http://blog.nxp.com/nfc-is-everywhere-at-ces-and-that-could-win-you-money/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:00:39 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3825 If you’re going to be one of the more than 150,000 people attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES, Las Vegas, January 6-9), then take a moment, when you register, to check out your badge. For the second year in a row, every CES badge will be equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC), the tap-and-go technology that enables new kinds of interactive experiences.

Having a badge with built-in NFC makes your time at CES more efficient, more personal, and more fun. A single tap of your badge is all it takes to submit contact information, retrieve specific product information, or access promotional content. It’s paperless, instant, and easy as can be.

BTAG-Photonfceverywhere

Your chance to win

But the other thing to know about your CES 2015 badge is that it could win you some cash. Each NFC-enabled badge is registered for an NXP-sponsored passport program, called #NFCEverywhere, that lets you earn points for a chance to win a Visa gift card.

Here’s how to play:

Look for the orange #NFCEverywhere readers located throughout the exhibit floor. Simply tap your badge to the reader, and collect a point.

Each reader location will give you up to one point a day, and all points collected are valid for that day’s drawing.

Collect 5 points, and you’re entered to win one of three $100 Visa gift cards. Collect 10 points, and you’re in the running to win that day’s grand prize, a $600 Visa gift card.

The contest runs from Tuesday, January 6, through Thursday, January 8. Daily winners will be notified via email at 8:00 PM PST with instructions on how to pick up their prize.

Where to find #NFCEverywhere locations

The #NFCEverywhere contest is a treasure hunt for CES attendees, and we’re confident that you’ll be able to spot the orange readers without much trouble. But if you’d like a head start on the competition (and who wouldn’t?), then stop by the NXP showcase and pick up your first point. We’ll be at Central Plaza 9 (CP9), right by registration in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center, so it’s easy to make us your first stop.

Other NXP happenings at CES

NXP is doing a lot with NFC these days – beyond designing them into CES badges – and we’ll be highlighting many of our NFC innovations in portable and wearables, secure car access, kitchen appliances, and mobile payment, at the show. We’ll also be demonstrating a number of other exciting technologies, too, especially in the areas of connected cars, security, and, of course, the Internet of Things. So before you begin your search for treasure, in the form of orange NFC readers, take a moment to view a demo or talk with one of our technology experts.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

Get the details

For more about what we’ll be doing at CES, check out our event microsite (www.nxp.com/events/ces2015) today. And, for more information on the #NFCEverywhere contest, visit www.nxp.com/nfceverywhere

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The three steps involved in biometric authentication http://blog.nxp.com/the-three-steps-involved-in-biometric-authentication/ http://blog.nxp.com/the-three-steps-involved-in-biometric-authentication/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 06:00:37 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3750 Smartcard manufacturers are looking at ways to enhance security in certain applications, and have found they can add an extra level of assurance when they augment the authentication process with biometrics, which are physical or behavioral characteristics unique to a person.

The figure shows a biometric smartcard developed by NXP. It uses the cardholder’s handwriting as a biometric feature. The individual numbers of the PIN code are captured in the writer’s unique way of writing through the use of an integrated capacitive touchpad.CaptureFrom the standpoint of consumers and end users, adding biometric authentication requires a bit more work upfront, because the person’s biometric has to be registered before the card can be put to use. But once the upfront work is done, the authentication process can be quick and easy. The process involves three steps: enrollment, live sample, and comparison. Here’s a quick overview of each.

Step 1: Enrollment
This step prepares the smartcard for use and pairs the person with the card. A reference sample, such as a fingerprint or a sample of writing, is taken. The reference sample, called a template, is stored either in a database, managed by the authenticating authority, or on the card itself.

Step 2: Live sample
With the template in place, the smartcard is now ready to use. Each time the card is put to work, the user provides a live version of the reference sample (a fingerprint or a handwritten PIN code) as part of the authentication process. The sample can be taken by the card itself, or by a machine that interacts with the card. Either way, the next step, comparison, is usually performed on the card.

Step 3: Comparison
To complete authentication, the live sample from step 2 is compared to the reference sample in the template. If the live sample is verified to be a match with the template, then the smartcard is authenticated and the transaction can proceed.

Three-factor authentication

Biometrics are typically used in what’s called three-factor authentication. This approach uses three things for verification: something you know (a PIN code), something you have (a smartcard), and something you are (an individual biometric property).

In some cases, two of these factors can be combined. For example, with a handwriting biometric, you might be asked to use your finger to write the numbers of your PIN code. The handwriting is the “something you are,” and the PIN code is the “something you know.”

Get the details

Our white paper, titled “Smartcards, security, and biometrics,” is a detailed look at the biometric techniques best suited for use with smartcards. It presents the options for implementing biometrics in a smartcard system and provides examples of real-world biometric smartcards, including the NXP implementation. Download your copy today.

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What’s the best biometric for a smartcard? http://blog.nxp.com/whats-the-best-biometric-for-a-smartcard/ http://blog.nxp.com/whats-the-best-biometric-for-a-smartcard/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 06:00:17 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3742 We’ve all seen the futuristic movies that show a person gaining access to a secure area or authorizing a transaction by using some sort of a biometric, like an iris scan, a handprint, or a voice command. Those days are closer than you might think, since biometrics are making their way into some very familiar applications, including those that involve smartcards.

Biometrics generally fall into two categories: physical characteristics and behavioral characteristics. Some examples of physical characteristics are fingerprints, the networks of veins in a hand, the specific arrangement of features on a person’s face, and certain components of the human eye, including retina and the iris. Examples of behavioral characteristics are how a person types on a keypad, the way a person writes a particular phrase or a sequence of numbers, or how they sign their name. Voice recognition is a hybrid biometric, involving a combination of physical and behavioral characteristics.

With all these biometrics to choose from, which are the best options for use with smartcards? The reality is that there are really only a select few. This is because any biometric that will be used in conjunction with a smartcard has to be practical to implement, and has to be compatible with the smartcard format. It has to work within the expected operating environment – such as the entryway to an office building, or at the payment terminal in a retail shop – and, perhaps most important of all, it has to be cost-effective. This immediately rules out certain biometric formats, such as DNA (which is too expensive), the way a person walks (which requires too much space to measure), and a person’s odor profile (which requires overly complex analysis).

biometrics 1

In applications that require the highest levels of security, it may make sense to use biometrics that would otherwise be too expensive or cumbersome for use with smartcards. These include hand geometry, hand-vein structure, iris and retina scans, and voice recognition. Future development may make these formats and methods feasible for everyday use in smartcards but, for now, there are basically three biometrics that best meet the key requirements of reliability, usability, form factor and cost:

  • Fingerprints – The most common methods for scanning a fingerprint are ultrasound fingerprint sensors, optical fingerprint readers, capacitive array sensors, and capacitive line sensors. In smartcard systems, the fingerprint reader is usually a separate device, not an integral part of the card, but many fingerprint readers are small enough that they could be used at home.
  • Face recognition – Still images and video are used to document facial features and create a template for comparison. Facial recognition is becoming standard in the authentication of international travelers, mainly due to its good usability, speed, and user acceptance.
  • Handwriting analysis – How someone write a series of characters or signs their name can be a useful biometric for authentication. The signature-recognition system can even be integrated onto the smartcard itself, for a very compact, low-power way to add biometric authentication to the setup.

Handwriting analysis is, in fact, the biometric NXP chose for its first biometric smartcard. The card uses the cardholder’s handwriting as a biometric feature. The individual numbers of the PIN code are captured in the writer’s unique way of writing through the use of an integrated capacitive touchpad.

Entering a handwritten PIN code requires less-intensive processing than other biometrics, including fingerprints, and the processing can be performed by the smartcard’s on-chip circuitry. Using a capacitive touchpad to capture the handwriting can be a good choice in terms of manufacturability, since the touchpad’s sensor can be placed in the antenna substrate.

Get the details

Our white paper, titled “Smartcards, security, and biometrics,” is a detailed look at the biometric techniques best suited for use with smartcards. It presents the options for implementing biometrics in a smartcard system and provides examples of real-world biometric smartcards, including the NXP implementation. Download your copy today.

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NXP at CES 2015: Secure Connections for a Smarter World http://blog.nxp.com/nxp-at-ces-2015-secure-connections-for-a-smarter-world/ http://blog.nxp.com/nxp-at-ces-2015-secure-connections-for-a-smarter-world/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:22:26 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3816 Security – the state of being free from danger or threat – has always been an essential part of human life. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, security is classified as part of the ‘basic human needs’ along with other essentials like food, water and shelter.

These days we’re more likely to fear terrorist attacks or hackers stealing our bank details than warring tribes or a sabre tooth tiger but while the nature of threats facing us has changed, the need for security still remains as strong as ever.

Our reliance on technology for the most everyday tasks including banking, transport, communications and commerce has richly enhanced our lives but in many ways also made us more vulnerable. As the market for devices and platforms for the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow and more data flows through the system, the risk of security breaches, intrusions, and hacks rises exponentially.

It has reached a point where cyber security has become a genuine societal concern. Governments and businesses spend $1 Trillion a year on cyber security alone. And earlier this week the U.S. Department of Justice announced the creation of a dedicated Cybersecurity Unit within the Criminal Division to focus on this growing concern.

Exterior front

Securing the future

NXP is a global leader in security solutions. Our secure element chips are already protecting some of the world’s most critical infrastructure including bank cards, e-passports and transport ticketing in cities across the world. At NXP we believe that overcoming the issues of security and privacy is critical to unleashing the potential of what we call the ‘smarter world.’

When we talk about enabling secure connections for a smarter world, it’s not just a tag line; it’s our guiding vision for the future. At NXP we truly believe that without a solid foundation of secure connections there can be no smarter world.

At CES 2015 we’ll be demonstrating exactly what that smarter world will look like and crucially, how these devices will be secured. At our booth (CP9) you can expect to see:

  • V2X connected car secure technology for enabling Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Secure door lock technology based on NXP MIFARE technology
  • NFC and bluetooth secure access to web applications
  • Smart home automation with NFC commissioning

As well as experiencing NXP’s secure technology first-hand you are also invited to join us for an engaging discussion with a panel of industry experts talking about challenges that need to be addressed as payment solutions make their way into an increasing amount of electronic devices.

When: Wednesday, January 7, 2014, 5.30-7.00 PM Pacific

Where: Inside the NXP Booth: Central Plaza #9 (CP9)

Register to attend the panel discussion or learn more about our solutions: http://www.nxp.com/events/ces2015/form-request-meeting

We look forward to seeing you at CES 2015 and discussing how we can secure the future of the smarter world.

 

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eCall to reduce the number of road fatalities by 2,500 each year http://blog.nxp.com/ecall-to-reduce-the-number-of-road-fatalities-by-2500-each-year/ http://blog.nxp.com/ecall-to-reduce-the-number-of-road-fatalities-by-2500-each-year/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:58:39 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3773 Statistics from the World Health Organisation suggest that a fatality is caused by a road accident every 25 seconds, and latest figures from the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport shows there are 28,000 fatalities on European roads over the course of a year. In a bid to reduce this number and improve road safety across the region, the European Commission is undergoing a rigorous programme between 2011 and 2020, part of which is eCall. eCall automatically alerts the emergency services to road accidents without the driver needing to do anything manually and is predicted to reduce the time it takes emergency services to arrive on the scene by 50-60%.The technology will be mandatory for every new car in Europe as of April 2018 and is expected to reduce the number of fatalities on European roads by up to 2,500 each year.

eCall transmits information like GPS location, number of passengers, chassis number and direction of travel from on-board systems to European emergency number 112 as soon as an accident occurs. Crucially, it does so automatically without the need to be manually activated by the driver, essential in particularly serious accidents where passengers may immobilized and unconscious. It can also be activated by the driver manually via an emergency button, for instance, if they have suddenly take ill. This not only alerts the emergency service to accidents / potential incidents in even the most remote places, but also provides them with all the information they need to ensure they have the right resources to deliver the necessary care before they arrive on the scene.

The technology operates using systems installed into cars in the manufacturing process, relying on chip technology developed by companies like NXP. Data is transmitted via an internal SIM card over cellular networks._79520620_79519885

The critical nature of the technology has lead manufacturers to turn to established and reliable providers to implement eCall. IBM is already emerging a one of the partners of choice with its software being used for the transmission and analysis of data. “eCall is at the heart of our strategy: innovation based on Big Data, Analytics, and Mobile”, says Eric-Mark Huitema, Global Manager Smarter Transportation at IBM. “IBM has always been keen to contribute to projects that have a clear social value.”

IBM is also quick to point out the extended possibilities that could be built on the same technology, particularly for preventing accidents in the first place.  For example, opt-in services for preventive maintenance, reporting of potholes in the road to the authorities, or reporting of potentially hazardous traffic situations, such as schoolchildren crossing the road. Maurice Geraets, Senior Director of New Business at NXP Semiconductors also highlights that cars will be able to communicate with each other over these wireless networks, which can also play a key part in road safety: “Via a WiFi variant for automotive, cars can exchange data, for example about their speed. If a truck is braking 300 meters ahead, a car can anticipate this by reducing speed automatically. This is how smart technology can take us a step further towards improving traffic safety.”

Status

Despite the clear value of eCall and related services, there are clearly challenges in such a wide-spread implementation. The mandatory date has already been pushed back from 2015 to allow manufacturers more time to make changes. Nevertheless, experts expect to see the technology become prevalent well before this date. “Many car manufacturers are already quite busy preparing for eCall,” says Geraets. “We know that several manufacturers are already offering eCall services – and many more will follow well ahead of the 2018 deadline.”

The EU welcomes this development sooner rather than later, as it is also expected to save Europe an estimated 26 billion Euros each year. Geraets explains: “As well as reducing the number of road fatalities, eCall also significantly reduces medical cost and allows traffic to be cleared quicker after an accident eases congestions which has a significant economic burden on countries across the world.”

There will, of course, also be considerable investment from the European Government and countries within the EU to make this system a success. For example, the Ministry of Security and Justice, together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, is considering participating in a European project to upgrade the 112-center before the go live date. “The project focuses mainly on improving the ICT infrastructure of European 112-emergency centers,” says Jan van Hattem, Project leader eCall at the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (‘Rijkswaterstaat’). “European companies and organizations can offer their suggestions for improving eCall or other connected car functionality. For example, by creating a data link between digital consignment notes. The EU project welcomes all ideas and partnerships.” The plan will cost approximately 50 million euros, and the European Parliament is expected to approve it at the start of 2015.

As well as obligations in Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States are all making variants of eCall mandatory in their respective countries. Van Hattem said: “Car manufacturers initially regarded eCall as an obligation to build in units, and therefore, invest money. Now they are starting to see the connected car possibilities of the built-in eCall components, such as WiFi and telephone, and are beginning to incorporate value added services for motorists in their vehicles with manufacturers such as BMW, Volkswagen and Volvo leading the way.”.”

Privacy

eCall only currently shares information about a vehicle rather than personal information of passengers, and only does so in the case of an accident, meaning privacy issues are limited. There are however aspirations for eCall to be able to transmit personal information like age and blood type of passengers, and some systems can already forward links to an external database with medical or other information. There are also value-added services which manufacturers can offer where personal information could be stored. Huitema explains: “This is not mandatory, but optional. The owner of the car would have the option to activate or de-activate this additional service.”

While drivers do have some control over this via opt-in, it is the responsibility of the manufacturers to implement the correct measures to prevent data theft and or tracking. This can offer peace of mind to drivers and enable them to take advantage of life-saving and other value-added systems that enhance comfort and safety.

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All in one: MIFARE4Mobile gives smartphones multi-app MIFARE features http://blog.nxp.com/all-in-one-mifare4mobile-gives-smartphones-multi-app-mifare-features/ http://blog.nxp.com/all-in-one-mifare4mobile-gives-smartphones-multi-app-mifare-features/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 08:00:20 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3708 Multi-application MIFARE smartcards make it possible to do lots of things with a single card. The Rabbit card in Bangkok, for example, lets people pay for transport, access their offices, and participate in retail loyalty programs. And the Mobilis card, in Valencia, Spain, lets you use one card for transport, bike rentals, tourism programs, and identification.

Now there’s a way to extend the reach of multi-application smartcards. Think of it as a smarter smartcard – otherwise known as your phone. Any smartphone equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) is already compatible with the existing MIFARE infrastructure, so it can be used with any multi-application MIFARE system that’s already in place. Simply tap your NFC-enabled smartcard against the MIFARE reader, the same way you would tap your multi-application smartcard against the reader, and you’re done. Ride the bus, enter a museum, pass through the security checkpoint at work, or present your health card – it’s all possible with your phone.

nfc5-019626MIFARE4Mobile makes it possible

Giving an NFC-enabled phone the ability to behave as a multi-application MIFARE smartcard is made easier with a new programming interface, called MIFARE4Mobile. It’s a single, interoperable programming interface that helps mobile network operators, trusted service managers, and service providers manage MIFARE-based services on NFC mobile devices. The interface is under the domain of the MIFARE4Mobile Industry Group, which is made up of leading players in the NFC ecosystem, including Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, NXP, Oberthur Technologies, and STMicroelectronics.With MIFARE4Mobile, you can remotely provision and manage MIFARE-based services in the embedded secure elements and SIM cards of mobile devices. MIFARE4Mobile supports Over-The-Air (OTA) updates, so services providers can access MIFARE resources in a secure element in a trusted and consistent way. It also renders card content on the phone screen in a convenient and flexible way, for a consistent user experience, and provides full interoperability with other card formats.

Even more advantages

Extending a multi-application service to include NFC-enabled smartphones lets you add app-based interactions and services. The app can provide access to extra information, like daily deals and members-only offers, or more services, like topping up a transport card or spending loyalty points. Having a user interface also makes it easier to configure preferences, update information, or respond to offers, for a more personal, more interactive experience. Using the phone, instead of a card, is a greener solution, too, since it saves on the cost and waste of issuing individual cards.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of adding smartphones to a multi-application MIFARE set-up. First, to take variations into account, be sure to specify each handset model and Operating System (OS) version you’re going to support. It’s important to do more than just replicate the key function, since offering value-added features is more likely to draw people to the new service. As always, a well-executed promotional campaign can help drive acceptance and maximize investment.

Get the details

MIFARE and MIFARE4Mobile are registered trademarks of NXP Semiconductors N.V.

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10 creative uses for Near Field Communication…smartly connecting everything http://blog.nxp.com/10-creative-uses-for-near-field-communicationsmartly-connecting-everything-part-one/ http://blog.nxp.com/10-creative-uses-for-near-field-communicationsmartly-connecting-everything-part-one/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 08:00:15 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3724 We’re on the verge of a worldwide NFC explosion. ABI predicts that NFC-enabled handsets available in market will soar fivefold in the next five years to reach 3.5 billion globally by 2019.[1] The business world is beginning to take a real interest. But aside from revolutionising the worlds of retail payments and transport access what other ways can NFC be used creatively to engage with consumers and drive new models of business?

The power of NFC deployment lies in the fast, seamless, secure way – via as simple tap – people connect their smartphone with physical media and objects to initiate all kinds of interactions. By uniquely connecting the physical to the digital worlds, NFC can enable entirely new brand-consumer experiences and find its way into new business applications such as interactive advertising, shopper activation and engagement, loyalty schemes, as well as on-package and on-product information sharing. What’s more, any content in the field can be changed dynamically in the back-end, so it stays fresh and relevant. Because NFC lets you gather data about each interaction, it’s also a valuable source of insights into consumer behaviour.

Here are just a few examples of real world NFC projects deployed by the world’s most innovative companies using state-of-the-art NFC technology from NXP.

1. On the road

BMW Car Hotspot LTE device is an NFC accessory consumers can use to access fast internet on the road. The device allows up to eight users to automatically connect to the vehicle’s WiFi hub by tapping their NFC phone onto the LTE logo of the hotspot.

Picture1MINI rolled out its own NFC solution for the Mini F56. The ‘key cap’ incorporates NFC and allows users to immediately activate and pair Bluetooth with an NFC-enabled smartphone.

 

 

2. Cheers to NFC

Picture2Guinness has been rolling out a mobile brand engagement program using Near Field Communication technology. NXP’s NFC tags are incorporated into thousands of Guinness’ beer founts in the UK and Ireland. A further 60,000 NFC-enabled founts are being planned for 2015.

Customers can download the Guinness mobile app onto their smartphone to access Guinness specific content or enter competitions to win a complimentary pint just by tapping their phone against the famous harp symbol.

3. Another pint?

NFC in the pub doesn’t stop at the bar. Brewer Carlsberg has developed a unique ‘NFC beermat’ that enables Danish patrons to access the Crowdit venue discovery app and receive promotions. The NFC tap helps to subscribe to a BLE broadcast, as the campaign is supported by Bluetooth beacons which are used to push special offers to nearby devices running the Crowdit app. Not only does the campaign enable Carlsberg to uniquely connect with patrons, it also encourages footfall and boost sales for operators.

4. Dressed to impress

Picture3Four Levent’s dress shirts for men all come with an NFC tag in each cuff. The NFC tags come preloaded with a link back to fourlevent.com, but can be changed to anything the customer wants via a mobile app e.g. storing one’s contact information on the tag, putting the URL to the own website, etc. Upon delivery, the NFC tags are pre-loaded with Four Levent’s bonus system: whenever someone taps their smartphone on a shirt owner’s NFC tag and then buys from the shop, both get a 20% instant reward.

5. Blending old and new

One of the ways NFC deployment is most powerful is when it’s used to connect the physical to the digital worlds – transforming any physical medium and object into users’ dynamic brand and content experiences. An example of this is BMW and Spiegel who teamed up to create the first mass-produced NFC print ad in Germany.

NFC smartphone users can launch the new BMW iApp by simply placing their phone on the tagged print ad. They can then explore a range of interactive information and services that demonstrate BMW’s sustainable mobility capabilities.

Lexus US were also able to merge the worlds of old and new with its advertisement in Wired magazine. When tapping the ad with and NFC enabled phone, readers were directed to a mobile website to “test-drive” Lexus Enform, the car maker’s in-car navigation and information service, and explore a range of interactive demonstration videos.

6. Digital tattoo

Picture4VivaLnk created a Digital Tattoo, an electronic skin (eSkin) product with an embedded NFC tag. Developed with Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, the Digital Tattoo is a paper-thin adhesive worn on the wrist and used to wirelessly communicate with a user’s smartphone. It enables an electronic authentication to unlock the phone for use and makes logging into the device fast, easy and secure. Digital Tattoos are disposable and can be worn for about five days before replacement is required.

7. Providing the creative spark

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, located in New York City developed an NFC-based solution for its exhibits that allows visitors to create their own digital designs.

Upon arrival, each visitor receives an NFC-enabled stylus, containing an electronic drawing implement on one side and an NFC reader on the other. Visitors can use the device to tap NFC labels which are affixed to, or near, objects — such as wallpapers, lighting fixtures, furniture or vases —throughout the museum. When tapping the NFC label with the reader, it stores information and patterns from exhibits in the stylus’ memory. Visitors can afterwards send the patterns to an interactive screen, enabling them to use the stylus to add things to the design. The guests can then share their creations with friends via e-mail or social media.

8. Sitting comfortably?

Picture5When shoppers arrive at the online retailer’s Made.com furniture showroom, they are invited to use their NFC- powered smartphone, or borrow one of 10 Google Nexus 7 tablets which have built-in NFC readers. An NFC tag has been attached to each item within the showroom, as well as on the showroom’s walls – with products being available exclusively online. If consumers tap their smartphone or tablet against a tag they can see additional information about the item/product. Furthermore, the solution enables them to create a wish list of products they like which they can forward to their e-mail address. The service aims to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping, for those who wish to touch and feel products before purchase.

9. Talking shop

The shop floor is the perfect environment for NFC, enabling brands to engage with consumers to allow for instant information and gratification. News America Marketing (NAM) offers an in-store service called “Smartsource with NFC” which is available for the company’s Shelftalk signs (currently deployed in 58,000 stores).

Picture6Kraft Food used this NFC-powered in-store signage in US supermarkets. Shoppers could retrieve helpful content every time they tap a shelf talker, including special offers, instructional videos or recipes, and share socially. They were also invited to download the Kraft’s iFood Assistant app to browse more recipes at home, create shopping lists, and locate the nearest store.

 

10. Handbag narratives

Aki Choklat’s designer bags are equipped with NFC tags, working with an app and a cloud-based authentication service. By way of tapping, consumers can authenticate their bags, displaying when and where the bags were made. The app also provides the possibility to create a travel diary and track down a bag if it is ever stolen.

[1] ABI Research September 2014

 

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Go straight to your room: MIFARE4Mobile and virtual MIFARE hotel keys http://blog.nxp.com/go-straight-to-your-room-mifare4mobile-and-virtual-mifare-hotel-keys/ http://blog.nxp.com/go-straight-to-your-room-mifare4mobile-and-virtual-mifare-hotel-keys/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 08:00:07 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3704 Checking into a hotel and getting to your room isn’t always as relaxing as it could be. Depending on when you arrive, there can be lines at the check-in counter, and you may have to spend several minutes confirming details and answering questions before you get your key card.

At your door, you’re likely to be juggling pieces of luggage, and that can make it harder to deal with the door lock. It may take a couple of tries before you open the door, because you didn’t face the card the right way or you failed to insert and remove it just so. Then, depending on the format of the key card, you may have to be careful where you keep it during your stay. If it’s too close to your phone, the key might be erased, forcing you to make a trip back to the front desk for a replacement.

An easier way: virtual keys

Now there’s a way to avoid these hassles, by using your smartphone as a virtual key card. Any phone equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) is already compatible with the existing MIFARE infrastructure, so it can be used with any hotel, anywhere in the world, that uses a MIFARE-based access system. You simply tap your NFC-enabled smartphone against the door look, just as you would tap a MIFARE-based key, and you’re in. You can even receive your key via email, when you make your reservation or just before you arrive, so you don’t have to check in at the reception desk.

Supporting virtual MIFARE hotel keys is easier with a new programming interface, called MIFARE4Mobile. It’s a single, interoperable, programming interface that helps mobile network operators, trusted service managers, and service providers manage MIFARE based services on NFC mobile devices. The interface is under the domain of the MIFARE4Mobile Industry Group, which is made up of leading players in the NFC ecosystem, including Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, NXP, Oberthur Technologies, and STMicroelectronics.

With MIFARE4Mobile, you can remotely provision and manage MIFARE based services in the embedded secure elements and SIM cards of mobile devices. MIFARE4Mobile supports Over The Air (OTA) updates, so service providers can access MIFARE resources in a secure, trusted and consistent way. It also renders card content on the phone screen in a convenient and flexible way, for a consistent user experience and provides full interoperability with other card formats.

Adding extra advantages

As a complement to the virtual key, the smartphone app can deliver a number of added features that make your stay that much nicer. You can earn loyalty points, check your balance and use points to pay for purchases while you’re there. You can even do things like configure room settings so the temperature and lighting are just how you want them when you arrive. Virtual keys are a greener option too, since they save the cost and waste of issuing physical keys.

Virtual keys can, of course, work with any door lock equipped to support MIFARE or NFC. That means these same kinds of services can be applied to student housing, corporate sites, apartment buildings, and even residences. Keys and locks can be configured to limit access to increase security. For example, the janitorial service might only have access to your office building during specified times. You can track and record usage, and you can use a centralized database to dynamically add or revoke user privileges.

Implementation considerations

Transitioning to virtual keys is a relatively new concept, and there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of adding smartphones to an access system. First, to take variations into account, be sure to specify each handset model and Operating System (OS) you’re going to support. It’s important to do more than just replicate the key function, since offering value-added features are more likely to draw people to the new service. As always, a well-executed promotional campaign can help drive acceptance and maximize investment.

Get the details

MIFARE and MIFARE4Mobile are registered trademarks of NXP Semiconductors N.V.

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The Smart Home: a tale of two standards http://blog.nxp.com/the-smart-home-a-tale-of-two-standards/ http://blog.nxp.com/the-smart-home-a-tale-of-two-standards/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 17:00:31 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3713 Smart home technology is here and is increasing penetration into consumer’s homes day-by-day but, as with any technology, standards and protocols matter. For the past 15 years or so, technology companies have sought to develop software solutions that enable the use of Internet protocol (IP) for wireless sensor networks and other connected devices that leverage Internet connectivity.

As a result several means of connectivity and networking have emerged that are making their way into smart home solutions including ZigBee and 6LoWPAN. But which of these standards will go on to define the connected home of the future? In this post we will look at the merits of two of these standards and invite you to speculate on the future of the smart home.

ZigBee

zig_bee_alliance_logoCreated by the ZigBee Alliance – an open, non-profit association of approximately 400 members – ZigBee is a networking layer built on top of IEEE standard 802.15.4 MAC. It was designed to provide a standards-based protocol for interoperability of sensor networks. So far it has proved to be one of the most popular low-cost, low-power wireless mesh networking standard available today.

ZigBee is used by a variety of cable and telecommunication companies including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, EchoStar, DirecTV, Charter, Rogers, Deutsche Telekom, Videocon. These companies are using ZigBee in their set-top boxes, satellite transceivers and home gateways to deliver home monitoring and energy management solutions to their customers.

This major buy-in from big players is one of ZigBee’s major strengths as it is already well established and proven – particularly in North America. The mesh networking format of ZigBee means that the more devices added to the network the more robust it becomes.

6LoWPAN

6LoWPAN is an acronym for IPv6 over Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks. 6LoWPAN products have recently entered the industry and in several areas are competing with ZigBee as it can utilize 802.15.4 and also run on other PHYs, allowing for seamless integration with other IP-based systems.

The unique advantage of 6LoWPAN is the fact that every device will be given its own IPv6 address, allowing unprecedented visibility and control for smart devices. With IPV4 addresses quickly running out, the advent of IPV6 is inevitable, making 6LoWPAN an even more attractive prospect.

CES Las VegasCES 2015

At CES 2015 NXP (booth CP9) will be demonstrating solutions using both standards; including home automation, smart plugs, energy harvesting switch and an IP camera. NXP’s smart home technology is designed to be compatible with both standards therefore flexible for use on smart home systems anywhere. To find out more, come by our stand and speak with one of our experts or visit http://www.nxp.com/events/ces2015/

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Skip the rush hour lines with MIFARE4Mobile and virtual MIFARE ticketing http://blog.nxp.com/skip-the-rush-hour-lines-with-mifare4mobile-and-virtual-mifare-ticketing/ http://blog.nxp.com/skip-the-rush-hour-lines-with-mifare4mobile-and-virtual-mifare-ticketing/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 08:00:26 +0000 http://blog.nxp.com/?p=3684 If you’re reading this blog, then you’re probably old enough to remember the days before MIFARE-based contactless ticketing was used in public transport. It was a very different experience from what we have today. In the metro, for example, you waited in line at the ticket counter or token machine, scrambling to find the right change for your fare to save time. Then you lined up at the turnstile, hoping that your ticket or coin wouldn’t get jammed and slow things down.

Using public transport may still mean dealing with crowds, but MIFARE ticketing has brought a much needed level of ease and convenience to the process of coming and going. Today’s transport tickets extend the capabilities of a single travel card to include rides on all forms of public transport – from subways and railways to buses, trams, and ferries – to new services like bike rentals and road tolling. MIFARE has already helped public transport come a long way, but the journey has, in many ways, just begun. That’s because MIFARE is poised to enter the virtual world, transitioning from paper and plastic                                                                                                           smartcards to key fobs, watches, and smartphones.

The next step: going virtual

Any mobile device equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) is already compatible with the existing MIFARE infrastructure. For example, you can tap your NFC-enabled smartphone against the reader at the turnstile, the same way you tap your MIFARE smartcard against the reader, and you’re on your way.

A new programming interface, called MIFARE4Mobile, makes this possible. It’s a single, interoperable programming interface that helps mobile network operators, trusted service managers, and service providers manage MIFARE-based services on NFC mobile devices. The interface is under the domain of the MIFARE4Mobile Industry Group, which is made up of leading players in the NFC ecosystem, including Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, NXP, Oberthur Technologies, and STMicroelectronics.

With MIFARE4Mobile, you can remotely provision and manage MIFARE-based services in the embedded secure elements and SIM cards of mobile devices. MIFARE4Mobile supports over-the-air (OTA) updates, so services providers can access MIFARE resources in a secure element in a trusted and consistent way. It also renders card content on the phone screen in a convenient and flexible way, for a consistent user experience, and provides full interoperability with other card formats.

A new set of advantagesnfc b

Virtual MIFARE tickets on a smartphone make transport that much easier. You can use your phone for anywhere, anytime ticket purchases – there’s no need to wait in line to buy a ticket. Your wallet is lighter and, since there’s one less thing to keep track of, there’s one less thing to forget at home or lose.

Adding in the features of a smartphone app gives an extra level of service. The system can include travel alerts/news, access to special discounts, dynamic schedules, and more. Using virtual tickets is also a greener way to go, since it saves the cost and waste of individual plastic and paper tickets.

For service providers, using OTA updates makes it easy to add new services, especially in multi-supplier formats, where details can change fairly often. For example, add a new feature or bring in support for an extra service, like bike rentals or building access, with a simple update.

Real-world example: Dubai

Dubai is one of the first places to extend its MIFARE ticketing scheme to support NFC-enabled smartphones. The NOL card, which supports travel on the metro, buses, and water buses, along with parking payments, is now available in a “SMART NOL” version that lets passengers use their NFC-enabled smartphones in the system. The interactive user menu includes the balance on your account and the date of your last journey, and includes a monitor for keeping within the daily fare cap amount. The user menu also includes the tag ID and expiration date, for use with customer service.

Things to consider

These are still early days for the transition to virtual tickets, and there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of adding smartphones to a transport system. First, be sure to specify each handset model and Operating System (OS) version you plan to support, so variations can be taken into account. Do more than just copy the functionality of the plastic card, to increase your chances of drawing people to the new service. Also, a well-executed promotional campaign can help drive acceptance and maximize your investment.

Get the details

MIFARE and MIFARE4Mobile are registered trademarks of NXP Semiconductors N.V.

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