Ericsson and ICA Ahold, the leading Nordic retailing group, have conducted the world's first trials with Bluetooth wireless technology in retail stores. Using mobile phones with WAP and Bluetooth technologies, customers have been able to pay for goods, check their accounts and find out about current offerings. This method of making payments is both faster and easier than regular purchasing with cash or credit card.
The purpose of the trial has been to test payments and payment related services for customers and to test Bluetooth wireless technology for communication in retail store environment The trial has been conducted at an ICA store in Täby, outside Stockholm, which has been equipped with Bluetooth coverage, using multiple Bluetooth access points, and Bluetooth networking server which provided connectivity to a cash register server and a payment processing system.
The trial proves the use of Bluetooth in combination with GSM, WAP and Web technologies. Ericsson recently begun shipping its Bluetooth headset and next year will launch its R520 mobile phone with Bluetooth. Besides Bluetooth consumer products, chipsets and modules, Ericsson is also licensing its Bluetooth Intellectual Property.
"The trial clearly demonstrated the opportunities in using mobile devices as payment instruments, with substantial convenience for people when shopping in our stores," says Jan-Olof Jarnesjö, Manager of IT infrastructure at ICA. "We envision that Bluetooth access will make it possible for people to do shopping in the way which is most convenient for them. Bluetooth is a widely adopted specification and we believe that most people will have access to personal devices which support Bluetooth." "This trial shows that Bluetooth is a reality today and that mobile Internet applications will help consumers simplify their everyday lives," says Jan Ahrenbring, Vice President Marketing and Communications at
Ericsson Mobile Communications. "The wide range of industries represented by the more than 2000 companies in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group tells us there will be Bluetooth applications everywhere."
"It's vital that retailers participate and contribute to consumer services in the mobile world at an early stage," says Jörgen Wennberg, Vice President, ICA Ahold Bank Project. "As far as we are concerned, the key is finding user-friendly and valued solutions for consumers and stores."
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