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Orange Launches Contest for NFC Application Developers

Mobile operator France Telecom-Orange has launched an NFC awards contest for developers, seeking to spur developers to create innovative NFC applications for the French market. 

The company is asking developers to submit applications that will either simplify or enrich users’ lives or enable brands to build relationships with their customers. Submissions open Feb. 19 and will continue through Mar. 24.

Nominated submissions will receive technical support from Orange for application development during the user-testing phase of the contest, and on June 6, nominees will present their applications before a jury in Paris for final selection.

Orange is offering a €20,000 (US$ 26,557) prize for first place, €10,000 for second place, and €5,000 for third place, with a €5,000 bonus to winners who use Orange’s latest generation of NFC SIM cards.

Orange last year began rolling out NFC-enabled SIM cards to all postpaid subscribers in its flagship French operation last summer, becoming the first mobile operator outside of South Korea to undertake such a rollout.

“We are investing millions to create a market,” Vincent Barnaud, program director for NFC at Orange group, told NFC Times last June. The telco has been a vocal proponent of NFC and has worked to increase penetration of NFC-enabled phones among its customers, 3 million of whom owned NFC handsets by the end of 2012 among its branch operators in Europe, up from less than half a million in 2011, according to Orange.

The operator hopes to increase that number to 10 million by the end of 2013. Orange group customers have 20 NFC smartphones to choose from, which make up 50% of the carrier’s smartphone lineup.

By increasing NFC phone availability, Orange hopes to “seed the market” for rollouts of NFC payment, transit ticketing, and other services.

And the developers contest is part of that strategy. With it, the telco said it hopes to encourage developers and companies in France to “tap into the huge potential of NFC,” developing applications for such services as payment, transit ticketing, loyalty and access control.

 

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