Identive Returns From Successful NFC Event in the San Francisco Bay Area
Last week’s NFC Solutions Summit in Burlingame, California was marked by the launch of several innovative solutions, the exhibition of a wide-range of NFC products and services, and the participation of Identive team members in comprehensive educational sessions alongside fellow industry visionaries. Held on May 22-24 in the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport and hosted by the Smart Card Alliance and NFC Forum, the conference presented the opportunity for leaders from financial services, applications development, payments processing, technology, retail services and industry analysis to congregate in an interactive forum while focusing on the issues, milestones and advancements currently taking place in near field communications (NFC).
With the industry’s most extensive portfolio of infrastructure products for the emerging NFC ecosystem, Identive played a visible role as both an event sponsor and a thought leader in various track sessions and panel discussions. A significant emphasis at the NFC Solutions Summit was placed on the state of the contactless technology, recent developments in new NFC devices, the status of the budding NFC ecosystem, and perhaps most notably, the future of NFC-enabled payments and other consumer-centric applications.
Smart Card Alliance Mobile & NFC Council
In the week leading up to the conference, the Smart Card Alliance announced the formation of the Mobile and NFC Council, a new industry body tasked with accelerating the adoption of NFC and raising awareness of the technology’s various capabilities – payments, loyalty, marketing, promotions, coupons, P2P, identity, access control and transit. The newly unveiled council will be managed by a cross-industry steering committee consisting of one of Identive’s own. Rob Zivney, VP of Government & Standards, has been elected to represent the company on the steering committee for NFC tag suppliers. For more information on this tidbit of news, click here.
Product Launches & Demonstrations
As a provider of products and services for the identification, security and RFID industries, Identive continues to develop the market’s latest solutions across the Secure ID spectrum. Debuting at last week’s event, Identive announced the launch of a pair of originative NFC solutions: a cloud-based near field communication tag management platform and an innovative RFID peel and stick payment tag for mobile phones.
Identive’s cloud-based near field communication (NFC) tag management platform allows advertisers, retailers and organizations in the education, hospitality and other markets to manage the delivery of dynamic, targeted content and services to consumers’ NFC-enabled mobile devices. The NFC tag management platform builds on the company’s expertise in Software as a Service (SaaS) and NFC technologies and its experience in designing, manufacturing and deploying millions of NFC tags and readers. The platform leverages a cloud-based architecture that allows multi-tenant use and supports intelligent profiling properties, enabling the delivery of personalized content to each user. By managing the content associated with each NFC tag deployed within a particular environment, information, campaigns and service offers can be dynamically updated or customized for specific user profiles. Deploying the service takes less than a minute per tag, and deployments can be scaled to any number of tags and users. To learn more about the tag management platform, click here.
Additionally, Identive introduced the latest innovative payment solution, tomPAY™, a patent-pending peel and stick radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that enables payment card manufacturers to offer contactless payment capabilities using consumers’ existing mobile devices. Based on Identive’s patent-pending tom® (tag on metal) smart inlay technology, tomPAY features a unique peel and stick form factor that allows it to be manufactured using the same processes as an ISO PVC card, and then popped out of the card and affixed to a mobile phone. When placed on a phone, tomPAY enables contactless mobile payments in compliance with MasterCard® PayPass™ specifications and also can be used for loyalty or other schemes. Additionally, tomPAY can be adapted to support EMV-compliant (SDA/DDA) chips, opening new opportunities for card makers and issuers to provide their customers with an EMV-enabled tap-and-go experience. To learn more about tomPAY™, click here.
Aside for the launch of pioneering solutions, the Identive team had the opportunity to discuss NFC during a number of educational sessions and keynote plenary panels. The keynote discussions were packed with a record-setting crowd of over 426 attendees. David Holmes, Vice President Mobility & NFC Solutions for Identive, participated in a keynote plenary panel session entitled “NFC Beyond Payments: Will Identity and Data Exchange Services Outshine the Wallet?” This panel explored the various uses for NFC beyond payment and how these services will not just compete but also complement and expand the market for the digital wallet and mobile phone. A few key notes from this presentation included:
- NFC allows an opt-in to location-based ads, thus removing some of the “big brother” connotation of today’s services.
- Need more focus on consumer-friendly apps to NFC devices so people get use to using phones to access content.
- NFC tag to cloud is a powerful combination.
Rob Zivney, who serves on the Smart Card Alliance 2012/2013 Mobile & NFC Council Steering Committee, also played an integral role in the conference. Identive’s Vice President Government & Standards joined executives from MasterCard Worldwide, Wells Fargo bank and Inside Secure for a media conference on Tuesday, where the development of applications employing NFC technology was examined.
The big question during this session was “Will government agencies accept mobile devices as a valid form of identity, an evolution that seems necessary to shift to an NFC-enabled digital wallet?” Rob Zivney indicated that he believed U.S. Homeland Security would shortly issue new identity specifications that will explicitly embrace IDs on smartphones. This then segwayed into an even broader discussion of non-payments uses for NFC enabled smartphones – reward and loyalty programs, information services, etc. A fellow panelist, Charlie Walton of Inside Secure, expressed that “A lot of very interesting, compelling NFC apps are coming down the pike.”
On Wednesday, Rob Zivney then joined other industry figures Peter Watkins from Province of British Columbia, Julian Lovelock of ActivIdentity and Rajesh Kenat of Ingersoll Rand in the “NFC Non-Payments Services” panel. During his 30-minute exploration into the role of smart tags and posters, he discussed these items as vital key enablers of the burgeoning world of NFC applications and services for entertainment, retail, transit, way finding and more.
Later that day, Identive CEO Ayman S. Ashour exercised his role as an early evangelist of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies to moderate a panel on NFC technology entitled “NFC Roadmap beyond Early Adoption,” with panelists from across the NFC hardware and software industry – Chris Gardner of SecureKey, Frank Maduri of Research In Motion, and Gregory Boardman of Ingenico.
Notes from the Show
Executives from the industry passed through the event doors bringing with them the common notion that NFC is approaching, and it was made evident that the road to NFC is currently in the “middle stages.” An array of panelists explained that when it does arrive in full force, NFC will enable a diverse host of applications that will not only enhance the consumer experience at the point-of-sale terminals, but more importantly in everyday transactions.
James Anderson, a MasterCard senior vice president, indicated that as far as NFC went, the 2011 milestone was the rollout by Google of its NFC smartphone. That added the credibility of a technology behemoth. For 2012, said Anderson, the next NFC milestone would be the Isis pilots in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City. To those unfamiliar with Isis, it is the joint venture entailing AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and various other major banks.
- NFC is in the middle stage and we are well on the way to mass adoption.
- It’s a very short-range technology. NFC works only at a maximum range of around 4 centimeters. Therefore, a consumer cannot accidentally buy something with it. That is important.
Anderson also elaborated that MasterCard decided to support NFC several years ago because it wanted “a very short-range technology. NFC works only at a maximum range of around 4 centimeters. A consumer cannot accidentally buy something with it. That was important.”The journey to NFC is in the “middle stages” and NFC is “getting well along the way to mass market adoption.” MasterCard made its commitment to bring NFC to consumers because NFC has so much potential beyond payments, Anderson said, and that “payment can be an enabler to a rich ecosystem of services.”According to Anderson, one of the ways to get consumers to use NFC technology is to put the technology “on the phones that people want to buy.” He named several new mobile devices that have been certified as “PayPass Ready,” a new mark that will identify to consumers that the handsets are capable of NFC payments.
Anderson also talked about MasterCard’s decision to bridge together a remote wallet service with its contactless product with “PayPass Wallet Services,” saying that the “PC channel and POS channel are merging,” and it is a “big stake in the ground to call this whole new world of payments ‘PayPass.’”According to Anderson, one of the ways to get consumers to use NFC technology is to put the technology “on the phones that people want to buy.” He named several new mobile devices that have been certified as “PayPass Ready,” a new mark that will identify to consumers that the handsets are capable of NFC payments.
Peter Ho, Product Manager for Wells Fargo, explained that for the consumer willingness to pay with NFC, or to simply embrace the new ‘wave and pay’ technology, “Overall, the short answer is that consumers are intrigued by the convenience of mobile payments – but they have concerns around security. The more they use it, the more comfortable they get.” Ho later elaborated, “This is one of the best times to be in the payments business – it’s so dynamic. Chip and PIN is going to be in the U.S. and that dovetails with NFC. As a bank we need to teach consumers about chip and this will help drive mobile adoption.”
Ho agreed with Anderson that payments will enable more NFC services, claiming that “this is the best time to be in the payments business” because payments will lead to an “offer engine” for consumers and ultimately, there will be convergence of NFC into the identity space.
During his keynote presentation, Koichi Tagawa of the NFC Forum, discussed that mobile payments are important, but the availability of a widespread offering of innovative non-payment applications may be the enabler to wide consumer use of NFC. Tagawa cited the example of Japan, which has used mobile payments phones for several years but doesn’t have the read/write (i.e. exchanging information with a smart poster or tag), or peer-to-peer (i.e. exchange data with another NFC device) capabilities that NFC offers. Backing this claim, he mentioned that “though there are 70 million mobile payment-enabled devices in Japan, only 25% of the population uses the technology due to the lack of these non-payment applications.”
Tagawa also said that ensuring a widespread consumer base for NFC technology will require “global interoperability of contactless specifications implemented into mobile devices.” He challenged the audience to use the NFC Forum’s open and global set of specifications to develop as many creative applications as possible for hospitality, retail, physical access, social media, gaming, workforce audits and more.
“No killer app can do it alone.” NFC adoption = Mobile Payments + P2P + Reader/Writer Apps.
Intel’s Wireless Marketing Product Line Manager, Carlos Aguirre, stood before event attendees to discuss on his company’s recent efforts to enable NFC technology across its product offering, including the latest tablets and Ultrabooks. Aguirre favorably compared NFC to the more-difficult-to-pair Bluetooth technology by explaining that “NFC is dramatically easier” and that NFC “could be the de facto standard in the future for how wireless devices pair,” including keyboards, mice, speakers, televisions, stereo systems, cameras, and much more. It is this simplicity of use that is going to drive consumer demand for NFC-enabled devices and “users are going to start to demand the simplicity of getting exactly what they want, when they want it, without all of the additional steps and without all of the additional accessories.”
A few notes from this session:
- Intel believes there is a lot of potential for NFC in its products, particularly handsets, tablets and PCs.
- NFC-enabled tablets and laptops will allow for secure purchases and log-ins to websites using reader mode.
- NFC-enabled experiences can reinforce Intel’s vision.
Aditya Khurjekar, mobile consultant and former member of Verizon Wireless, urged the audience to examine NFC from the consumer point of view, and give them what they expect. This being new mobile experiences, and even more advanced experiences as handset technology evolves. Khurjekar encouraged the industry to get NFC embedded in as many mobile devices as possible, particularly in the “coolest phones” and to “launch something already” so the consumers can experiment with the technology. Khurjekar stressed, ”You can’t have a grand equation for how consumers will behave –they will tell us,” and also urged not to worry about “black holes” and limitations of mobile devices and operating systems. In closing, he told the audience that they’ve barely seen the wide-ranging benefits of NFC yet and promised the audience, “We’re just getting started.”
Doug Morgan, Chief Strategy Officer of C-SAM, joined the “Making the Case for NFC Payment Services with Merchants” Panel. He helped examine the changes occurring with the mobile commerce realm and how NFC will impact merchants, operators and payment providers. Morgan emphasized that the future of NFC encompasses “a few wallets, merchant verticals, remote and proximity, and context-sensitive simplicity masking complexity.” He also urged to the audience that NFC is not just about finance, but “about the integration of finance, retail, health, government.”
Peter Watkins, an executive director in the Office of the Chief Information Officer with the Government of British Columbia, talked of another innovative non-payment use of NFC with regards to government and citizen services. Watkins mentioned that his government finds it “imperative that we make ourselves compatible with the global trends,” putting in place a system that can use NFC technology in the future. During his panel discussion, he outlined the Government of British Columbia’s efforts to modify their public healthcare system to a more secure and privacy-friendly one employing contactless technology. Under the new system, citizens will be vetted when renewing their driver’s licenses, and given the option to combine both cards into one.
When discussing NFC and its involvement in location-based services, Proxama’s Neil Garner encouraged attendees, “It’s so simple and it works like magic.”
Frank Maduri, senior director of mobile wallet for RIM, said that the company is “very bullish on NFC” and is “going to put NFC on all user devices.” Reason being, said Maduri, is the “powerful yet very simple user interface” of NFC. While he said that payment, loyalty and coupons will likely be the first applications to take off for NFC, he envisions significant opportunities for the technology within both the consumer and the enterprise arenas. Maduri said that putting emphasis on the NFC applications that can be done very simply now, such as “basic pairing and sharing,” and tag reading and writing, could result in early adoption of these applications by consumers.
For pictures from the NFC Solutions Summit, visit Identive’s Flickr page here.Both comments and trackbacks are closed.