NFC Fails To Impress London Underground

22 07 2012

Back in 2008, the BBC reported that ‘Near Field Communication’ (NFC) would change the lives of Londoners. It was called the ‘next big thing’ and possibly replace the cash or credit cards.  The smart phone revolution beckoned.

At about the same time both O2 and Nokia were conducting a trial with London Underground to see if you could use a handset as an Oyster Card.

Sadly, just four years on, it hasn’t changed our lives at all really. NFC has not so much taken off as just limped along and now it looks like we won’t be using our phones to swipe in and out of the tube after all. It appears, London Underground felt that following (another) trial, the payment process just takes too long.

“We have carried out tests on NFC in both 2008 and 2010,” Transport for London customer Experience Director Shashi Verma said.

“Unfortunately, during both of these tests, we found that the technology was not fast enough to complete the transaction in under 500 milliseconds, which we would require.”

On a positive note, Tube commuters do have one new toy to play with and that’s Wi-Fi on the Tube. It’s been arriving gradually for weeks and there are now over 41 stations equipped with the latest technology – just ahead of the Olympics.

Speeds are quick but unfortunately, the signal doesn’t extend to the tunnels so you have to do a quick bit of surfing at each stop. And it won’t be free after the Olympics. But for now at least, we’ll settle for that.

Credit and Source: ePayment News

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