ParraConnect Advisory Committee has launched the country’s first digital eco-system initiative called the ConnectCard project, which is set to revolutionise the way business is carried out in Sydney’s Parramatta.

ParraConnect Advisory Committee is a partnership between Sydney’s Parramatta City Council, CivicTEC and the local community that was launched by the Lord Mayor Garrard in 2009.

The ConnectCard project is a smartcard project that will help create a a virtual marketplace in Parramatta.

The launch of the program in Parramatta, will see participants use smartcards or Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile phones to shop from participating retailers, access car-parks, work buildings, libraries and used as part of loyalty programs.
The smartcards are capable of carrying funds on them, in the same way as a debit card. Customers can load up to $100 onto their cards, via a secure online portal.
Businesses that participate will be equipped with an Android Tablet and a Near Field Communication (NFC) card reader. Customers simply ‘wave’ their smartcard or NFC-enabled phone past the reader or tablet to purchase items or access services.
The project will offer small business owners access to solutions being used by medium-large business owners. Through software provided, business owners will be able to manage inventory, asset control and management, and have access to loyalty programs either individually or within a community. They will also be able to offer promotions and advertising at the point of transaction, including targeted promotions. Both business owners and customers will have their own portal to monitor buying patterns in all-in-one dashboard.
Frank Dorrian, SGS Technologie director and program manager, said that although contactless smartcards, (NFC) micro payments, and smart-phones are all available as individual applications this is the first time they 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,” he said.

“The solution that we’re launching in Parramatta has already attracted interest nationally and internationally which is a strong reflection of the demand for modern solutions that keep pace with business development.
The consortium lead for this project is STMicroelectronics, a major global technology company. Jean-Claude Pellicer, country manager for STMicroelectronics, said that the expertise of the consortium group that has been put together will ensure Parramatta’s ‘Smart City’ vision is realised.
“This is a continuation of our technology roll-out for smart cards and NFC product – we are bringing to Parramatta the best of breed in this field,” he said.