[Dave Birch] I’m thrown into category confusion, because I wanted to mention the use of Octopus (ie, transit) contactless smart cards in Hong Kong.  As we have often discussed, the way in which Octopus has spread from transit to retail payments makes for an interesting case study.  But it is also the case the Octopus cards are being used for physical access control.  Since everyone, essentially, has one there is no point in implementing proprietary access control systems for offices or apartment buildings: you may as well just let people use their Octopus cards.  This always struck me as rather interesting, particularly given evidence from other markets that people might be reluctant to load too many functions onto one card.

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Now comes the news that Hitachi have released their PASMO IT Apartment system which uses PASMO, the Japanese railway transit cards (with the obligatory e-purse functionality) that we have been discussing over on the digital money blog, in conjunction with net@ITEM.  This is Hitachi’s IT Apartment system, originally launched in 2001.  The system ensures high security through management of people entering and leaving the building and remotely controls entrance key through PASMO’s ID authentication systems.  The PASMO access control system means, obviously, installing card readers in the apartment building (including entrance, elevators and lobby area).  It being Japan, of course, the PASMO access control scheme can be used in combination with the mobile phones to remotely control building facilities.  I’m sure it is only a matter of time, given the integration already underway, before PASMO becomes a standard mobile phone feature and no-one will think twice about using the phone to buy a ticket, get on the train, pay for a snack, jump on the bus and then get into their office.  And make phone calls too.  Still, my new mobile phone has a fun mini-golf game and if I got to the O2 WAP home page I can get my horoscope in only a few clicks.  We’re definitely making progress in the UK.

These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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