Blackboard, Sony Partner To Provide Smart Card Technology In Education Market

Blackboard Inc. and Sony recently announced a partnership to support Sony FeliCa contactless technology in the Blackboard Commerce Suite, a family of applications supporting one-card transactions on-campus, off-campus and online and allowing for identification, payment and access.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sony will engage Blackboard to support the FeliCa contactless chip technology. The combination of Sony's FeliCa technology and the industry standard Near Field Communication (NFC) protocol offers application options and system performance.

"Sony's commitment to the U.S. market and to NFC standards allows for a solution to higher education institutions that improves student service in a cost effective manner, and enables a wide-array of new services in the future," said Russ Carlson, president of the Blackboard Commerce Group.

The FeliCa Contactless IC card technology offers security complying with ISO standard in contactless applications. FeliCa also provides a supportive layer of user credentials which can be integrated with NFC-enabled devices including door access readers, point of sale terminals, mobile phones and a variety of attended and unattended devices.

"Our collaboration will help improve the daily life of students, staff and faculty with the benefits of FeliCa contactless technology as it allows educational institutions to combine multiple applications including student identification, access control and payment onto a single card," said Hiromasa Otsuka, corporate executive senior vice president at Sony responsible for the FeliCa Division. "We are ready and excited to expand the cool and smart lifestyle FeliCa technology enabled in Japan to the U.S. market."

With Sony's FeliCa technology, contactless communication between the card and the card reader/writer is activated by electromagnetic waves radiated from the reader/writer antenna. FeliCa technology complies with ISO/IEC 18092 communication method. The solution allows for read/write transactions to be completed within 0.1 second, a feature that makes the card advantageous to be used for multiple university campus applications that require high-speed processing.

Transmission data is encrypted using a "transaction key" which is dynamically generated at every mutual authentication.

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