Landscape with Dreams pt. 2

Mobile RFID Forum

Forum to develop RFID technologies

Korean mobile-phone carriers and electronics makers will combine efforts to develop radio-frequency identification technologies for mobile phones, enabling people to receive real-time information on consumer products or services through microchips embedded in their handsets.

Electronics manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. and mobile-phone operators SK Telecom Co., KT Freetel Co. and LG Telecom Ltd. established the Mobile RFID Forum last week to promote the use of RFID and short-range data transmission between wireless devices such as mobile phones and WiBro portable Internet receivers.

Fixed-line telephony operator KT Corp., mobile-phone maker Pantech Co. and chipmaker MagnaChip Semiconductor Ltd. will also join the Mobile RFID Forum, which gathered 60 companies at its start.

The Mobile RFID Forum comprises five divisions - handset development, network architecture, service applications, security and standardization.

By introducing prototype service versions and promoting the implementation and standardization of RFID technologies to ensure interoperability between devices and services, the group aims to push mobile-phone-based RFID to commercial services in 2007.

Industry watchers are upbeat on the business potential of combining mobile phones with RFID technology to communicate with other electronic devices with smart-card infrastructure, changing the way consumers obtain information and buy products and services. For example, a mobile phone embedded with a RFID microchip could enable the user to make cash-less payment when purchasing an on-shelf product by simply touching the RFID tag on the item.

Multinational electronic giants Nokia Oyj, Royal Phillips Electronics NV and Sony Corp. established the Near Field Communication Forum last year to promote an RFID-like technology called near-field communications, a peer-to-peer communication method intended to provide connection between devices.