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Japanese RFID tech batters down doors in West

RFID ticket gates like these in Tokyo could soon spread worldwide

We recently lifted the lid on just how useful - not to mention pervasive - RFID technology is in Japan, so it's with a glad heart that we bring you news of a move that's sure to help it spread more quickly in the West.

The FeliCa RFID technology at the heart of almost all the wireless e-cash and ticketing goodness in Japan looks set to reach North America after Sony announced a new scheme to help companies develop systems there to use it.

Applied knowledge

Sony's FeliCa System Integrator Application Developer (SIAD) program will focus on delivering the know-how gained in Japan through support and training resources to anyone looking to add RFID to their existing businesses.

That could be anything from creating a system for cinemas to put movie tickets in their customers' phones to a full-blown e-cash rollout for giant retail chains.

Early adopter

Jeff Hilliard, boss of Compudigital, an early SIAD member, spelled out the benefits: "FeliCa technology is on the edge of the technology curve, has unlimited application potential and opens up a whole new world for developers." And, especially, for customers too, he might have added.

As the Far-Eastern experience has already shown, once IC chips and their RFID applications open the door to wireless transactions of every kind, there really is no going back. Watch this space.