This group – Health / Lifestyle / Entertainment throws up some very interesting applications above and beyond that of loyalty and payment-type applications we have grown accustomed to. This category was originally put forward to celebrate the diversity that comes from contactless technology applications and implementations. And there are many of them. For instance, here are this category’s nominees;
- NFC Health monitoring – Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria) HEALTH
- NFC meals for the elderly – City of Oulu (Finland) HEALTH
- Stadium contactless ticketing & payment – Ricoh Arena (UK) ENTERTAINMENT
- Caffè Nero (UK) LIFESTYLE
First off the block is NFC Health monitoring, thanks to the Austrian Institute of Technology (Austria) HEALTH. This is an NFC pilot where phones are utilised to check the health of patients. It’s a successful project originating from academia, but with support from the contactless industry. More than that, it shows how NFC technology could be utilized to save lives.
The Austrian Institute of Technology told C-ITV the key application field of the developed KeepInTouch (KIT) solution is focused on HOME, HEALTH and TELE-monitoring and allows for secure remote data acquisition by elderly patients without any technical skills. The NFC communication module has been developed and integrated into a couple of home monitoring devices such as blood pressure meters, blood glucose meters, body weight scales, ECG recorders, spirometers and so on. To read recently measured records the user has to wave their NFC enabled mobile phone in front of the device. This gesture launches the application installed on the mobile phone that manages data acquisition (even from passive RFID tags), storage, patient identification (using RFID cards) and synchronization with the web-based database.
Together with NXP (NXP Semiconductors, Gratkorn, Austria) the AIT developed the communication interface to be integrated into medical devices. A&D Medical (AND, Tokyo, Japan) was the first company to release an NFC enabled blood pressure meter (UA 767 plus NFC based on the AIT’s interface). Further medical devices (body weight scale, glucometer, spirometer) have been extended with NFC by connecting an external interface, the so-called KIT box. Utilizing the KIT method for intuitive data acquisition enables even elderly, technically unskilled patients to take advantage of the telemonitoring service. This solution establishes a virtual link between patients and their care-givers enabling them to keep in touch.
So far, about 50 KIT telemonitoring sets consisting of an NFC enabled mobile phone, blood pressure meter, body weight scale, RFID card (for authentication) and a symbol sheet with RFID tags to acquire information about medication intake and well-being have been delivered to various doctors and patients. Approximately 100 further sets have already been prepared for use in projects in the immediate future, dealing with diabetes, hypertension, and medication monitoring.
Our second nominee is also looking to the Healthcare industry but this time the nominee is not a company – it’s a city! Introducing the City of Oulu (Finland) and their Meals for the Elderly NFC project which is based on monitoring the delivery of meals to the elderly . You can see the real video of the application here:
In their own words;
In the city of Oulu, elderly people with severe problems of cooking balanced meals themselves are offered a possibility for ordering daily meal delivery from the city’s elderly care. NFC-technology was used to enhance the meal service by providing the clients an opportunity to choose the meal they would receive the following day, or cancelling the meal delivery. Without the digital service interface, the same meal was delivered to all clients daily, and in the case of cancellations, the clients called the service provider by phone. The average age of the users was 76.6 years. The service interface was constructed by attaching NFC tags into a meal menu that was placed in a plastic stand. A mobile phone with an integrated NFC reader was used to make a selection, i.e. the user touched a tag in a menu with a mobile phone.
To use the meal ordering service interface, the user did not need to use the key-pad of a mobile phone nor did they need to navigate in the menu structures of a mobile application. If the user made several selections during a day, the last choice made was valid.
Kitchen and elderly care personnel were able to monitor and follow meal orders and related delivery processes through a web-based service backend system. The following day of the meal selection, the logistics service delivered meals to the clients’ homes. Personnel of the logistics service provider also used NFC-enabled mobile phones for reporting the status of meal deliveries. After each meal delivery, a driver of the logistics service touched a tag located in the home of the client to confirm a successful delivery. This generated automatically a timestamp of the delivery and sent it with other delivery information to a back-end system. Thus, the elderly care personnel were able to monitor the delivery progress in real-time, react immediately to any problems in the delivery, and provide accurate information if a client requested details about the status of the delivery. A driver also replaced the paper menu in the plastic stand with the new one every Friday, and helped the elderly users with the mobile phone if they had problems.
So, from NFC-based meals-on-wheels to we move to stadiums and contactless ticketing. This time with a solution from Ricoh Arena (UK) in the ENTERTAINMENT area. And it involves Coventry City Football Club.
Coventry City Football club is based at the Ricoh Arena, and the Arena handles all ticketing/payment for the matches. A phenomenal 300% increase in retail sales when using their contactless card. The contactless system is an implementation not a trial, and is one of the few stadiums in the UK to view contactless positively.
The Ricoh Arena became the first UK stadium to launch its cashless payment system when it was introduced at Coventry City football matches in 2008. Supporters are given a customised card to buy their snacks and refreshments instead of using cash like at every other football ground, which reduces queuing and waiting times. The customised cards can be ‘topped up’ with a minimum of £5 cash by the holder from cashless payment staff dressed in lime green, to buy food and drink at kiosks throughout the concourses and in the corporate hospitality lounges. The card has a contactless chip that utilises RFID technology. Once the card is ‘topped up’, supporters can buy their refreshments and snacks and their card is scanned on a reader to take the payment and displays the remaining credit. Outstanding credit can be saved for the next match or redeemed at the cashless payment terminals after half time. Supporters can also log on to http://www.cashless-payment.co.uk to top up their cards on their PCs as well as check their balance.
Notwithstanding a Championship trend of declining attendances, the number of transactions as a percentage of the attendance (penetration rate) has increased from 47% to 57% as an average, with a peak of 67% for the 2009 FA Cup quarter final tie versus Chelsea. That match also saw a UK stadium record of £2.67 spend per head for football match retail sales (as opposed to 80 pence, pre-contactless).
It has reduced queuing times at the kiosks particularly at key times, for example half-time, and it means supporters receive their food and drinks much more quickly. Our average half-time transaction time was 63 seconds pre-implementation. It now stands at 22 seconds as an average. This gives fans more chance to watch the football and improves the overall match day experience for the home supporters attending the Ricoh Arena.
Since the start of the 2008/09 seasons, supporters have been issued with a smart card, which doubles up as their season ticket and their cashless payment card. Fans are now familiar with the system, but there is plenty of staff located around the concourses to help those who come to Coventry City matches on an irregular basis or for the first time. There are over 120 POS terminals with contactless readers installed and over 20,000 active cards in circulation.
So there we leave it for the elderly, the infirmed and the football fan. What’s left? Ahh, coffee… and it’s Caffè Nero (UK) LIFESTYLE. The company provides coffee and snacks and is the largest independent coffee retailer in the UK, with over 400 stores. They are a major Retailer in the beverage sector and have embraced contactless equipment, integrating contactless technology into their own Till Software. This contactless technology is now live across all their sites in the UK (780 readers). Moreover, contactless technology was implemented at the same time as Chip and PIN as part of an integrated system, to move away from cash. The company say that the average spend is under £10, meaning that this is ideal for contactless payments.
The company says contactless brings greater flexibility for their customers, who now have another payment method to choose from. Their payment processing partner Commidea provide a web portal where contactless transactions can be tracked on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and internal reporting is carried out by Caffè Nero per site.
Asked about frequency of usage, Caffè Nero told C-ITV that each location is different: the majority of usage is London, with Edinburgh and Northampton showing significant transactions. Canary Wharf is the store with the highest number of contactless transactions. The company has also noticed that contactless transactions are growing at a faster rate than Chip and PIN month on month and that the spend on card is much higher than cash.
So there you have it. The Health / Entertainment / Lifestyle category. Nothing in common except contactless technology. Just the way we like it. Did I mention there would be a star-studded, gala event in London on the 29th April? Will you be there? If not, there are always the Monkey awards – come and hang out with us… much better.