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NFC completes Smart Posters standard

And Nokia takes its trials to Finland

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The NFC Forum has just published the Smart Posters component of its short-range-radio standard, while Nokia continues with large-scale trials of the technology.

Smart Posters are signs, billboards, or any other form of advertising which will incorporate a passive (unpowered) NFC Tag, from which a user can extract data by touching it with their NFC-enabled handset. The data could be a free ringtone, a URL, or even the configuration for a local Wi-Fi hotspot.

But Smart Posters are much more important to the NFC than a mechanism for giving away a few tones or setting up networking. Smart Posters have been promoted as the mechanism by which network operators can make money out of NFC. The idea is that all those extracted URLs will generate lots of data traffic for the operator - which would be fine, except that an increasing proportion of network operators are charging a flat rate for data, so more traffic is a burden, not a profit.

Meanwhile, Nokia is running yet more trials to show how great NFC is. This time it's public transport in Tampere, Finland, in conjunction with TeliaSonera and TietoEnator. We have to assume that Nokia has an awful lot of NFC-equipped 3220s lying around the place, as it doesn't seem to have bothered to equip any more up-to-date handsets with the technology and this trial, as so many others, will be using the three year old phone.

With the Smart Poster specification completed, Nokia and its friends desperately need to prove that NFC can make money for network operators, who will be expected to subsidise handsets sporting the technology, but reducing bus queues in Tampere is not going to achieve that. ®

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