NFC-Based Navigation System Set for Tokyo Shopping District (Feb. 12, 2013)
Feb. 12, 2013
Shoppers are getting some help navigating Tokyo’s Ginza district from nearly 300 NFC-based location tags the city’s government has placed throughout the upscale retail hub. The system works with an Android app, available for download from the Google Play store, which enables users to search for and select a destination within Ginza, along with options including wheelchair accessible and elderly-friendly routes. The user then taps a nearby NFC tag, and the app calculates the best route to the chosen destination.
The pilot starts today and runs through March 31, and is part of an ongoing effort by the Tokyo government to integrate NFC-based mobile functionality into the city, where NFC-equipped phones are standard and already can be used to purchase tickets for public transit and items from vending machines and convenience stores. The Ginza pilot will use special tags equipped with a technology known as ucode, which assigns a unique digital ID to specific places in the real world; the system also works in underground train stations.
Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is co-sponsoring the test with the Tokyo municipal government. Last month, plans were announced for a similar “NFC Zone” in another Tokyo neighborhood, Shin-Okubu. That service is a venture between Japanese mobile operators KDDI and Softbank, along with South Korea’s SK Telecom, and is expected to launch in April.