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Japanese mall trials Nortel wireless equipment for smart card use

Takamatsu City Shopping Arcade, the longest covered shopping mall in Japan, is trialing wireless broadband technol...


October 2, 2006  


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Takamatsu City Shopping Arcade, the longest covered shopping mall in Japan, is trialing wireless broadband technology from Nortel Networks Ltd. to provide mobile Internet access, VoIP and smart card transactions for businesses and customers.

Nortel’s Wireless Mesh Network will enable instant transfer of transaction data for the new IruCa smart card — a fare collection system for the Takamatsu-Kotohira Electric Railroad (KOTODEN) that can also be used for shopping as well as for bus and train travel.

The network will also provide high-speed wireless Internet access and VoIP services in the 2.7-km, 800-business arcade for wireless-enabled laptops and other communications devices such as PDAs. Nortel is working with channel partner NextCom in deploying and integrating the system for the Takamatsu trial.

“The use of smart cards for transport and shopping is a growing trend in Japan as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) begins looking at widespread adoption of the technology for a broad range of commercial and e-government services such as drivers’ licenses and passports,” said Nick Vreugdenhil, president of Nortel’s Japanese division.

The Takamatsu wireless mesh trial is a key component in a national “Digital Community Demonstration Experiment” project driven by METI to continue Japan’s transformation into the world’s most advanced IT nation.

METI expects the Takamatsu City trial to help demonstrate how digitization can enhance convenience of shopping and traveling within the city, and help revitalize the economy of the Kagawa prefecture region bordering the Seto Inland Sea.