The New South Wales Government has announced a $168,000 grant to Parramatta’s Smart City consortium to create a ‘virtual market place’ to allow workers and residents of the area to purchase goods and services away from a single transaction point, such as a register or eftpos machine.


The consortium, led by ST Microelectronics, is one of 11 receipients of awards announced recently by the Deputy Premier of NSW, Andrew Stoner, through the Funding for Collaborative Solutions: Mobile Concierge program, part of NSW's Digital Economy Strategy.


The award-winning program in Parramatta will enable participants to use ‘smartcards’, or Near Field Communication (NFC), to conduct transactions with selected retailers and service providers remotely.


The smartcards will hold large quantities of personalized data relevant to the individual customer and will be protected with data protection software.  They  could be used to access car-parks, work buildings, libraries and used as part of loyalty programs.


SGS Technologie Director and Program Manager, Frank Dorrian said this is the first time contact-less smartcards, (NFC) micro payments, and smart phones have been consolidated into a secure mobile eco-system.

“This new smart eco-system could re-invigorate the traditional city centres of Australian cities and allow small retailers to compete on a level playing field with their super-mall counterparts through mobile ordering and payments,” Mr Dorrian said in an interview with Government News.


Parramatta City Council has facilitated the program through ParraConnect, an organisation formed as part of its e-Parra strategy in June 2010. Since ParraConnect was established, Council has set-up free wireless at all of its libraries, provided an application to allow residents to register a complaint via SMS and established live-chat for customers on its website.