MIFARE turns 20 – How has it changed our lives? 25. April 2013

1994 was a great year for innovation. For instance, the Channel Tunnel opened, the Java programming language was released, and the world’s first satellite digital television service was launched. 1994 also heralded the introduction of NXP’s MIFARE technology, which has become an essential element in more than 40 different applications especially for transport ticketing solutions, loyalty programs, and access management across the globe. In particular, it has gone on to revolutionize the ease and efficiency of public transport.

Commuters old enough to remember the metro railways of yesteryear will recall the archaic ticketing systems that pre-dated contactless schemes. As if the morning rush wasn’t bad enough, chaotic scenes at both cash desks and ticket barriers would often greet bleary-eyed city-dwellers as they embarked on their daily commute. Whether it was struggling to find the right money or feeding paper tickets into uncooperative machines, traveling on the underground could be quite an ordeal.

It’s safe to say that MIFARE has changed the lives of many commuters since those days.

Now the application development platform for contactless solutions is used in more than 650 cities worldwide to improve their public transport systems. And not just on the metro-multi-modal contactless travel cards, such as the one recently announced by the Moscow Department of Transport, enable commuters to use a single secure smart card to ride on metros, trains, buses, trams and for further services like bike rental or road- tolling. On the innovation side, MIFARE is continuing to evolve. Imagine how convenient it is to simply pull out your NFC-enabled smartphone and – thanks to embedded MIFARE technology – use it as tickets, keys or cash like people in Bangkok or Dubai. Going even further, MIFARE4Mobile functionality will enable customers to purchase tickets through web-shops and transfer them to the secure element in the phone, accelerating the use of NFC smartphones with MIFARE functionality.

As we’ll celebrate the 20th  anniversary of MIFARE technology next year, we also look forward to a future where NXP will continue to set the agenda in contactless innovation. What over-the-air application would you like to see on your smart card or smartphone?