Motorola Plans NFC Features In Business Gadgets

Contactless payment technology will get enterprise make-over by Motorola

Motorola today said it is working to introduce near field communication (NFC), the technology behind contactless payments like London’s Oyster Card, into its enterprise products.

NFC has been viable for some time, and is the basis of payment systems such as Oyster,m but has failed to thrive in mobile devices, despite various promises and rumours. NFC is due to appear in RIM’s BlackBerry.  Rumours of NFC in Apple’s iPhone 5, due later this year, were unfounded apparently, so attention has shifted to next year’s putative  iPhone 6.

Operators Vodafone, Orange, O2 and others have promised to offer NFC by 2012 in a concerted push by trade body the GSMA. Everything Everywhere (T-Mobile and Orange) has promised NFC payments this summer. Meanwhile O2 has demonstrated a virtual wallet, and applied for a licence for a payment sustem.

Paris launch next week

There are few details from Motorola about its plans, including exactly what enterprise applications will use NFC, as it is planning a big launch event in Paris next week.

But Andy McBain, Motorola senior mobile computing and radio frequency identification (RFID) product manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told eWEEK  Europe UK that the company is about to unveil a number of new NFC-based developments.

“We are working to introduce a development to support contactless adoption,” he said.

Richard Hudson, Motorola Solutions enterprise mobility vice president of channels and solutions, added that the relaunch of its channel partner network was designed to support greater specialisation among its 3,500-strong partner network.

“The new Partners Empower brand is out there but we are still in the process of rolling out the details to the network. But the work we are doing there is aligned with our mobile vision,” Hudson said.

Meeting growing demand

“A key driver will be the increase in mobile workers, particularly in mature markets like Western Europe, to 50 percent.”

The NFC development also complements RFID work McBain said Motorola was doing with large companies like retailers in particular.

Motorola was talking up its enterprise mobile plans at an event to showcase its work with Dunlop Tyres and Datalinx Computer Systems to embed RFID chips into British Touring Car tyres for scrutineering purposes. The UK racing championship is the first to use such technology to ensure the tyres used by the participating cars adhere to its rules and regulations.