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NFC-based ads being tested on Japanese rail transport systems

Transportation is a top priority in cities, and a new innovation in delivering advertisements in Japan could point toward the future of ads on Britain's urban public transit services.

The system, developed by Japan-based firm Shunkosha, is called Strappy and allows train passengers to access advertisements and other information via a Near Field Communication (NFC) equipped strap cover. According to Keitai Watch, the passenger can simply touch their compatible phone to the strap cover and get immediate access to the content being delivered to that NFC point.

The testing of the system began in Tokyo in mid-May on several high-traffic train lines. According to the manufacturer, although the user will have immediate access to advertising information and other content, the company will not collect personal data from the users of the system, an important point in a time when consumers are becoming increasingly privacy-sensitive.

The key issue in getting such a system to propagate beyond the confines of high-tech Japan is introducing the British public to more NFC technology. Japanese train passengers have been using their phones for years to quickly and conveniently pay for rides with a tap of their phones at station turnstiles, while in the U.K. and most of Europe such technology is on the rise but still reasonably rare.

This slow adoption hasn't stopped NFC payment technology from being adopted by leading banks and credit card companies, with Visa and Barclays currently leading the way and NatWest also a player in the contactless payment market.

Online payment giant PayPal has also entered the market, recently launching a mobile payment service for Android and iOS devices.