At this year’s GSMA annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona, near field communication (NFC) and mobile payments took center stage. It was great to witness the introduction of the ‘NFC Experience’ at the exhibition, which saw 10,500 attendees test NFC-enabled handsets for themselves; exchanging information and making transactions within the exhibition center and across Barcelona.
Future of NFC
As the distribution of smartphones continues to rise globally, it is evident that the foundations are well and truly set for significant deployments of mobile NFC services in the coming years. The GSMA’s Mobile Economy Report predicts that 50% of smartphones will be NFC-enabled by 2015 and 85% of POS terminals shipped in 2016 will be contactless, backing up the expectation generated by this year’s event. With the technology gaining traction, the next challenge for the industry is promoting consumer confidence in NFC technology.
NFC Consumer Engagement
Getting NFC payment applications and mobile wallets securely deployed within an interoperable framework will be key to achieving consumer engagement and trust, and ultimately encouraging mass market adoption of NFC. As a ubiquitous and global use case, payment will demonstrate the ease, convenience and security of NFC to consumers, giving them an insight into the capabilities of the technology and breeding familiarity. From an industry perspective, once the infrastructure for payments is in place – which is innately complex – it will offer a launch pad to deploy innovative value added applications such as couponing, loyalty and ticketing. This is when NFC will get really exciting.
Samsung and NFC
The commitment from the industry is evident. Visa and Samsung’s announcement last week at MWC that all next generation Samsung handsets will ship with embedded secure elements and Visa’s payWave mobile payment application pre-loaded as standard was of significant interest. We will certainly be keeping a close eye on the launch of the Samsung Galaxy SIV next month to see how much air time is given to the device’s NFC mobile payment functionality, and the reaction from the media and public.
As an increasing number of secure and tailored applications are implemented onto our smartphones, the role of the trusted service manager (TSM) will come to the fore as players from around the ecosystem vie to deliver their apps and services to consumer devices efficiently and securely.
BlackBerry Trusted Service Manager
Earlier this year, Bell ID announced that its Trusted Service Manager solution has been selected by BlackBerry as part of its secure element manager solution for NFC mobile payments, demonstrating our credentials in this space. Our platform enables TSM solutions to supply service providers with the means to securely provision, store and update their credentials and applications on NFC capable devices.