"In the last decade, cities have invested millions in public information displays," writes Ben Schiller. However, "[s]everal European cities are showing that bulky infrastructure may not be necessary at all. Instead of displays, they are embedding 'smart tags' in bus station walls, tourist landmarks, and airport arrivals lounges, allowing citizens to access information simply by waving their phones close-by."
"Eight French cities, and three in Spain, are now using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology developed by Connecthings, a Paris-based company," he adds. "For example, Strasbourg has installed about 1,500 tags so far."
And the technology isn't limited to assisting transit riders. "If the tag is at the bus-stop, it will tell you when the next service is coming, and the different lines," says business development director Alban d’Halluin. "If it’s at a touristic place, you will learn about when a building is open, and where the nearest bus is."