The 2011 Contactless Monkey Award Finalists – Public Concern

This group is about more than just pure business – it’s about giving something back to the community, about serving the public trust, making the communities life easier. It’s also about successful, well run trials that actually push the cause of contactless further than ever before. Who worked the trials, what were they and more importantly, will one of the nominees win a Contactless Monkey Award for their troubles?

Let’s meet the finalists for the awards category – Public Concern.

  • NFC devices for registration – Newham College (UK)
  • Providing student services with NFC technology – Universite de Nice (France)
  • National ID card – NXP (Germany)
  • Open loop campus card – University of Canberra (Australia)

First up we look at Newham College of Further Education. This college is one of the largest and most successful further education colleges in England.  In 2009 Ofsted recognised it as Grade 1 – Outstanding. The College is based in East London in the sixth most deprived borough in England. There are 16,000 learners. In 2010, the College recognised that there was a problem with the efficiency of the existing system of registering learners’ attendance in the classroom, based on the teacher logging on to a pc, to an attendance register programme, and confirming learner attendance against an online register.  This system was time consuming – many teachers deferred register completion until later in the day, against a handwritten list – and interfered with other pedagogical use of the pc such as for interactive whiteboard use.

The College saw that, in addition to the potential benefits of immediate, simple learner attendance recording, the system offered possible other significant and attractive benefits including:

  • Confirming the teacher’s arrival in the classroom for the lesson, and alerting the faculty office if a teacher was late or absent, so that cover arrangements could be instituted urgently,
  • Recording the learner’s time of arrival in the classroom, thus monitoring punctuality,
  • Remotely recording space utilisation of classrooms, i.e. number of learners present in any teaching session, against total enrolled (currently having to be undertaken by a laborious process of visiting each class, every hour for a survey week, involving several ‘surveyors’ over the week),
  • Enabling mass texts to be sent to teachers in classrooms, with urgent briefings or alerts,
  • Enabling teachers, using the mobile phone functionality, to summon IT support, or security assistance, to the classroom without necessitating the teacher leaving the classroom,
  • The teacher could use the mobile phone camera and video capability for recording learning events and progress, including for upload to the virtual learning environment.
  • Use across all College sites, including satellite community provision not IT- enabled and therefore not using the current online register system

The four week NFC student attendance registers system trial commenced on Monday 14th June 2010 with approximately 120 learners and four teachers, with the purpose of comparing the user friendliness, effectiveness and accuracy of the NFC system with the existing method of recording learner attendance in the classroom. The second stage middleware development is scheduled for completion by April 2011.  It will then be tested with a further small cohort of teachers and classes.  If all goes well, full implementation across the whole College, including eight satellite sites, is envisaged for September 2011.

Our second finalist is The University of Nice and is located in Nice, France (where else?) and neighboring areas. It was founded in 1965 and is organized in 8 faculties, 2 autonomous institutes and an engineering school. In early January 2011, NFC tags were rolled out across the main campus at the Université de Nice, Sophia Antipolis. Two hundred users equipped with NFC enabled phones can access campus mapping, course location information, make mobile wallet payments, use coupons, receive campus news, perform library searches and post book reviews. Equipment numbers are:

  • 200 phones
  • 500+ tags
  • 300 books tagged
  • 10 merchants accepting payments & coupons

There is a tremendous shift from a passive student plastic card to a multiservice secured-applications environment in a student’s phone. Users go from a situation where a plastic card provides ID and payment features to a real student-centered multiservice connected lifestyle device. For part of the project, sociologists will accompany the students before, during and after the field trials. The project is organized in 2 successive trials. Feedback will be extensively documented for each trial and feedback from the 1st trial will allow improvement of services for the 2nd trial. Given the university’s expertise in contactless technology it’s safe to say this will be an ongoing project for the foreseeable future.

Our third finalist is NXP in conjunction with the German eID card. Beginning in November 2010, German ID cards have been issued in the ID-1 format and can also contain an integrated digital signature, if so desired. The eID card data which is now visually readable will be stored on an ID chip, enabling cardholders to identify themselves online when dealing with government authorities as well as commercial service providers, for example when shopping or banking online. The German government has selected NXP as the supplier of an inlay solution containing a dedicated SmartMX chip, packaged in an ultra-thin module.

The contactless ID card will enable secure e–Government and e–Commerce services while protecting against identity theft and identity tracking. Only trustworthy service providers will be able to access ID card data once authorized by the citizen, ensuring privacy, as well as authenticity of data for service providers. More than 150 companies are working to prepare for the roll–out of the new ID card, and participating in trials to offer services such as online banking, registration for online shopping, airline passenger check–in, online tax declaration and car registration. The new German ID card can also be used as a travel document within the EU – and to some other countries such as Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt – instead of a passport.

“The new German ID card will set new standards in terms of document security, privacy protection, and citizen convenience,” said State Secretary Cornelia Rogall-Grothe at the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI).With its citizen–centric approach, it is a prime example for other countries to follow.” Issuance of German contactless ID cards has already begun, which will replace the current paper-based IDs, starting in November 2010. More than 60 million cards are expected to be rolled out over the next ten years.

And last but by no means least, our final finalist(!) is also a university. This time it is the University of Canberra, Australia. The university has produced over sixty thousand graduates since 1970. Their UC1 Card replaces existing student and staff cards at the University of Canberra. It is the first card in Australia to combine a student ID card with a pre‐paid MasterCard that includes PayPass contactless technology and employs ‘open’ loop technology – ie it is usable on and off the University Campus for example, printing and photocopying at the University libraries, building access on Campus, shopping on and off Campus and across the internet are all possible on the UC1 Card.

The UC1 Card Project has added the pre‐paid scheme debit and contactless functionality onto the existing card functionality at the University of Canberra. This has provided the University with a single card for use across Campus.

The Project is still in very early stages as the go live date was only 31 January 2011. It is envisaged that the advantages will be:

  • One card for students and staff on the University Campus – there is no need to carry cash or other cards on campus;
  • Fast access for international students to a pre‐paid scheme debit card (both contactless / standard merchant and over the web payments);
  • Reduced cash on campus, particularly for small payments (contactless will accept up to $100), this is expected to lead to shorter queues and assist food outlets to maintain hygiene;
  • The card demonstrates the University’s commitment to the using the latest technology; and
  • Everything is online – transaction information, balance information etc making it a very ‘green’ solution for the University.

When all cards are issued, the University will have approximately 12,000 cards in production.

So there you have it, UK, France, Germany and Australia, from students to the man-in-the-street, a variety of contactless applications aimed at the Public Concern. The winner will be announced at the award ceremony on April 14th. See you there!