Blackboard and Sony Partner to Offer Contactless Card Technology in U.S. Education Market
WASHINGTON and SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) and Sony Corporation announced today a
partnership to support Sony FeliCa contactless technology in the Blackboard
Commerce Suite(TM), a family of applications supporting one-card transactions
on-campus, off-campus and online and allowing for identification, payment and
Under the terms of the agreement, Sony will engage Blackboard to support
the FeliCa contactless chip technology. The combination of Sony's proven
FeliCa technology and the industry standard Near Field Communication (NFC)
protocol offers industry-leading application options and system performance.
"The deployment of contactless technology is very advanced across Asia
where Sony is the clear market leader," said Russ Carlson, President of the
Blackboard Commerce Group. "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."
The FeliCa Contactless IC card technology offers high 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 Corporation
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.
Sony FeliCa technology is widely used across the globe, with more than 250
million cards and FeliCa chips embedded in mobile phones in circulation. Rail
ticketing and payment systems throughout Asia have incorporated the
contactless technology to increase speed of service and passenger throughput.
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
Transmission data is encrypted using a "transaction key" which is
dynamically generated at every mutual authentication. These features make
forgery and card fraud nearly impossible.
About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a leading provider of enterprise
software applications and related services to the education industry. Founded
in 1997, Blackboard enables educational innovations everywhere by connecting
people and technology. With two product suites, the Blackboard Academic Suite
(TM) and the Blackboard Commerce Suite (TM), Blackboard is used by millions of
people at academic institutions around the globe, including colleges,
universities, K-12 schools and other education providers, as well as textbook
publishers and student-focused merchants that serve education providers and
their students. Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices
in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Educate. Innovate. Everywhere (TM)
About Sony Corporation
Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game,
communications, key device and information technology products for the
consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer
entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the
leading personal broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded
consolidated annual sales of approximately $70 billion for the fiscal year
ended March 31, 2007. Sony Global Web Site: http://www.sony.net
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and
prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words "believes,"
"anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute
forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from
those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various
important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors"
section of our Form 10-Q filed on August 7, 2007 with the SEC. In addition,
the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the
Company's views as of November 7, 2007. The Company anticipates that
subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change.
However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking
statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any
obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied
upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to November
SOURCE Sony Corporation; Blackboard Inc.
CONTACT: Melissa Chotiner, Senior Manager Public Relations at
Blackboard, +1-202-463-4860 ext. 2404, firstname.lastname@example.org; or media, Amy
Storey of Fleishman-Hillard Inc., +1-202-828-8819, email@example.com; or
Elizabeth Boukis of Sony Electronics Inc., +1-408-352-4593,