August 15 2014

Contactless Services Make City Life Easier in Nice, France

Beach View of City, Nice, France

Four years after first being set up in Nice, France, contactless payment establishes itself as a part of everyday French life. Transportation, tourism, commerce, parking…the number of ways this technology can be used to simplify people’s lives continue to multiply.

When Nice transitioned over to contactless services in 2010, the city acted as a pioneer. Since, numerous cities like Caen and Strasbourg have followed. This Near Field Communication (NFC) technology allows one to pay simply by bringing your telephone or credit card, furnished with an NFC chip, close to a payment terminal. No code is necessary. According to the most recent figures from l’Observatoire du NFC et du sans contact, 5.3 million contactless mobile phones and 21 million contactless credit cards were already in circulation by December 2013. One out of every three credit cards is already set up for contactless payment, and the majority of banks will automatically be equipping them with this function from here on out.

Tourism and Smart Parking

In Nice, it is possible to buy a ticket, validate your ticket in the bus or the tramway, rent a Vélobleu or an Autobleue, and access practical information (bus schedules, routes to get to a point of interest in town) with NFC technology. A phone with NFC replaces loose change and is a timesaver for those users who can renew their Carte Azur transportation pass] or buy individual tickets on their phone rather than waiting in line at the ticket office. “In the cultural sector, simply placing your NFC phone near the plaques affixed to certain monuments, like the one at the Cathedral of Nice, opens your website browser to a page with information about the site you are visiting,” explain those at la Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur. Tourists and Niçois alike can take different touristic itineraries, like a Matisse tour or a tour of surrounding villages perchés [perched villages]. People can also discover the masterpieces at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, visit the villages of Tinée Valley, or increase their botanical knowledge on the Promenade du Paillon.

A Timesaver in Commerce

Thanks to this technology, parking has gotten smarter: drivers can see available parking spaces in real time and pay for them on their smartphones. Two thousand boutiques in Nice are currently equipped with an NFC terminal in order to facilitate their transactions. “It is very practical in the case of a long line at the checkout counter,” affirms Eric Joiemelle, Manager of the restaurant L’Actu in Nice. “Contactless payment is quicker than a classic transaction; there is no code to type in. It saves time and eases the flow of payments.”

The Department of Var the Next to be Equipped

Perched Village with Chapel, Nice, France

The Metropolitan Area of Toulon Provence Méditerranée, the Conseil du Var, the Metropolitan Area of Draguinan, and the Communauté de Communes Coeur du Var are currently working to install contactless services in their areas. The Communauté de Communes Coeur du Var foresees, for example, a digital tour leading tourists along the highway to different chapels in the nearby perched villages. In Seyne-sur-Mer, amateur yachters at the new yachting port set to open in 2016 will benefit from the app “Port Pass” that will bill them in real time for services used.  The progress just doesn’t stop!

Has your city embraced the use of contactless services?  Do you think such technology makes life easier, eliminates important opportunities for human interaction in the community, or both?  

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources. 

Katelyn Hewett

Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year writing classes, and volunteering through the French Department. She spends her free time writing fiction and doing interior design projects. Katie loves reading both fiction and non-fiction and hopes to pursue a career in publishing in the near future, ideally with a small, independent press. For the coming school year, however, Katie will be teaching English in Montpellier, France. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to immerse herself in the French language.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 9:47 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Katelyn Hewett, Technology, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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