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GlobalPlatform, Industry Interviews | Nice contactless project 'Cityzi'


Interviewee: Didier Durand, Director of Mobile Contactless Services, Orange France

Introduction: In 2010 the city of Nice, on the south east coast of France, moved forward with one of the largest and most successful contactless trials to date - Cityzi. The trial included the use of contactless payment, transport and information services to the city's residents. GlobalPlatform speaks with Didier Durand, Director of Mobile Contactless Services at Orange France and spokesperson for  the Association Francaise du Sans Contact Mobile  (AFSCM) - the French not for profit organization which is coordinating the technical development and promotion of Cityzi - about the project so far and its next steps.

The project:

  • Could you provide us with a brief overview of the Cityzi project and its main objectives?

The overall aim of the Cityzi project was to show real-life mobile contactless / near field communications (NFC) applications in action. We also wanted to build a business case and prove that competing actors, such as mobile network operators and banks, can work together and achieve successful contactless deployments.
Nice was selected as the city of choice for the multi-application implementation, as its size and existing services suited the project’s requirements. The initiative has brought together transport, payment, loyalty and information services onto the mobile phone using NFC technology.

  • How was the project communicated to the citizens of Nice?

One year before the official launch we started to build the 'Cityzi' brand as we wanted to encourage citizens to not only use, but trust the new technologies. We recognized that it was important to develop a strong brand to instil the vital confidence amongst end-users that would make the trial a success.

Creating a trusted, recognized brand for the project greatly increased end user engagement. It also simplified their buying experience.  Now, a user could simply walk into a mobile phone shop in Nice and ask for a ‘Cityzi mobile’ without needing to know which specific handset manufacturers and models were supporting the trial.
In the run up to the trial, the Cityzi project was launched to local citizens with a dedicated website to provide locally available information and marketing promotions from the participating banks.

  • In total, how many citizens and retailers are taking part in the project?

We’re delighted to report that currently 4,000 Cityzi mobiles are actively in use across all mobile networks and we anticipate having 15,000 Cityzi mobiles in operation in Nice by the end of 2012.

Challenges:

  • What have been the main challenges faced during the project so far?

The main challenges involved effectively integrating all applications onto one secure element (in France, Cityzi is related to NFC, SIM-based services), and defining and applying the correct level of security to cater for all participating applications, from downloading local tourist information to using the phone to purchase goods in stores.
We relied heavily on standards and specifications defined by associations such as GlobalPlatform in order to ensure both security and interoperability across project members.

The technology:

  • How did you ensure the interoperability of the technology used throughout the project?

We worked in accordance with existing standard specifications from European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), GlobalPlatform and NFC Forum.  Throughout the development stages we were keen to ensure compliance with the Association Européenne Payez Mobile (AEPM) for contactless payment and AFSCM, where the representatives of all the French Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) specified all the non-standard technical features. We also carried out full end-to-end testing with service providers and devices (SIM and handset) before launching the project.  

  • Which standards / specifications are adhered to?

In terms of technical compliance, we adhered to the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) specification, which ensures the quality of the link between the SIM card itself and the NFC chip, plus the ETSI standards for telecom and mobile-based applications.

GlobalPlatform's UICC configuration for implementing GlobalPlatform Card Specification v2.2 within the mobile services sector was also invaluable in ensuring interoperability across all actors involved in Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) implementation.

GlobalPlatform specifications were of upmost importance throughout the development stage, as the guidelines provided the framework for enabling the open and secure implementation of multiple applications on a single, secure chip.

Feedback:

  • What feedback has been received from local citizens?

Our satisfaction research revealed that 90 percent of those questioned were satisfied with the service and 92 percent said that they would recommend the Cityzi services to a friend.
Overall, we have received very positive feedback from participants who have been impressed with the overall experience and believe that all services provided were of a good quality.

Next steps:

  • And what's next?

Until now, as with Cityzi, projects have been on a local scale, with increased users growing organically with the launch of new 'Cityzi enabled' handsets.

In October 2011, we also rolled out a similar project in the city of Strasbourg and we look forward to at least a further two projects in France in 2012.