NTT develops voucher trading service platform for mobile phones

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Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTT) has developed ‘Voucher Trading Service Platform,’ a new information distribution platform which enables high-speed and secure reservation, purchase, and confirmation of tickets using mobile phones or PDAs.

The platform establishes an electronic medium through which the right to claim services or values is digitalized and freely used in both brick and mortar stores and over the internet. As well as tickets, it can apply to pre-paid cards, point cards, coupons, and membership cards.

To maximize potential, the platform allows each IC card to hold various kinds of electronic values to cover significantly more application areas. Concurrently, NTT has developed a new user device called the ‘IC Card Booster.’ This enables these cards to be used for contactless payments via local communications links such as infra-red. The booster’s display can be used to show the card’s balance and digital ticket information.

By the development of this platform, NTT says it has created an information distribution platform which realizes full-scale voucher trading services, through the use of secure public key encryption. A different secret key is stored in each card, and the terminal discloses only the public information. Unlike a shared key-based system, even if the secret key is somehow compromised, the damage is contained.

In addition, this platform is capable of completing payment processing within 60 milliseconds, a world record for payment by a contactless IC card.

Usage scenarios:

Shopping

When shopping in a store, it is possible to settle a transaction through a combination of multiple electronic values, including money, credit points, and coupons. Users can employ devices other than contactless cards such as mobile phones and PDAs, which are more familiar.

For example, NTT found that users hesitated to use traditional IC cards because they were not able to confirm the balance of the card when it was used. With the display function offered by mobile phones and the IC Card Booster, balances can be confirmed without anxiety. The IC Card Booster also greatly extends the application area of the conventional contact-type IC card, as a contactless IC card.

Ticket collection

Ticket collection and ticket confirmation at locations like railway stations, concert halls or amusement facilities can be performed at the highest speed yet reported. In the same way as when shopping, users can use mobile phones or PDAs. IC cards are inconvenient because we are not able to confirm the contents of digital tickets stored in an IC card.

The new platform removes this anxiety by using the display function incorporated into mobile phones and the IC Card Booster. Users can now easily confirm card contents and use them by simply flashing the ticket at the ticket examination machine or gate equipment to board a train or enter a facility.

NTT says the voucher trading service platform will change existing trading functions for physical merchandise into the trading of ‘assets’ by providing a platform which enables digitalized values to be circulated from enterprises to individuals, individuals to individuals, and individuals to enterprises in a secure, reliable, and cost-effective manner, potentially revolutionizing existing supply chains.

NTT Information Sharing Platform Laboratories, in cooperation with businesses, is working toward the development and expansion of products targeted at expanding the use of this platform in conjunction with the expansion of voucher trading services.

Contact:

NTT Information Sharing Laboratory Group

koho@mail.rdc.ntt.co.jp