NFC Success Depends on Realizing Potential beyond Payments, Industry Experts Agree as NFC Solutions Summit 2012 Wraps
Smart Card Alliance Mobile and NFC Council Officers Announced
PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J., MAY 30, 2012–The success of NFC technology will depend on the availability of a wide array of consumer-satisfying payment and non-payment applications in areas like healthcare, government, enterprise and retail, industry experts agreed as the NFC Solutions Summit 2012 wrapped last week. More than 430 attendees gathered for the Summit, the first NFC-themed event held jointly by the Smart Card Alliance and NFC Forum, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport hotel.
“The Smart Card Alliance, with its diverse membership and educational focus, is uniquely positioned to stimulate productive discussions and debates of the critical issues surrounding NFC adoption. This was illustrated well by the packed auditoriums for the spirited and engaging sessions featuring NFC technology and business stakeholders, and the large number of attendees for the two pre-conference workshops and the in-person Mobile and NFC Council meeting,” said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance
On Wednesday and Thursday, attendees gathered for concurrent sessions on technology, hardware and applications, and business services.
Guy Berg, senior managing consultant for MasterCard Advisors, gave attendees more insight into MasterCard’s commitment to assuring a good customer experience when using NFC technology because “if you tap it and it doesn’t work, how likely are you to come back and use it again?” To that end, MasterCard has established a number of approval processes for handsets, secure elements, wallet user interfaces, and Trusted Services Managers (TSMs), and Berg announced a significant number of approvals that have been granted in all areas.
Tony Sabetti, director of POS and Payment Alliances at Isis Mobile Commerce, said that Isis, the mobile wallet venture created by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, aims to change “the way people shop, pay and save.” Sabetti said that Isis is “looking forward to bringing this out to consumers later this summer,” with pilots in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas. Hundreds of merchant locations including national merchants Aeropostale, The Coca-Cola Company, Champs, Dillard’s, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice and Macy’s are set to accept contactless payments made with the Isis Mobile Wallet for the pilots.
NFC is not just about finance, but “about the integration of finance, retail, health, government,” Doug Morgan, the chief strategy officer at C-SAM told attendees. Along that theme, the audience heard presentations on the many non-payment opportunities for NFC.
Debra Spitler, vice president of HID Connect, HID Corporation, said that NFC will change physical access control, presenting opportunities for a new “ecosystem of devices that will read digital keys” for physical access to buildings. Julian Lovelock, senior director, product marketing, ActivIdentity, talked of ways that NFC and the secure element can help to solve the challenges of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) in the enterprise, saying the technology can allow corporate-specific applications to be put into a “container,” separate and secure from all of the other applications on the handset.
Transit will be a “significant early driver” for NFC, David deKozan, vice president, Cubic Transportation Systems told the audience on Wednesday. Cubic has already run a series of trials and focus groups for NFC technology and, according to deKozan, the customer reactions have been very positive and “they can’t wait to get it.”
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: government and citizen services. Watkins said 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. He outlined the Government of British Columbia’s efforts to revamp their public healthcare system to a more secure and privacy-friendly one utilizing contactless chip card 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.
Research in Motion’s (RIM’s) senior director of mobile wallet, Frank Maduri said that RIM is “very bullish on NFC” and is “going to put NFC on all user devices.” The reason, according to Maduri is NFC’s “powerful yet very simple user interface.” While he said that payment, loyalty and coupons will likely be the first applications to take off for NFC, he sees big opportunities for the technology in both the consumer space and the enterprise space. 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.
Koichi Tagawa, chair of the NFC Forum, and the general manager of Global Standards and Industry Relations Department at Sony, updated the audience on NFC Forum activities. With 170 member companies and 17 NFC specifications in place, the NFC Forum will continue to work to enhance the specifications, educate the market, and certify products through its certification program. Rules to use the N-Mark, a stylized letter “N” trademark intended for consumers to easily identify NFC-enabled products as well as the locations where NFC services are available, have been recently revised, and now the mark can be used on smart posters, on devices, and on software. All of this activity, according to Tagawa is to “optimize NFC for all potential use cases” and to enable “applications that will satisfy as many consumers as possible.”
On Thursday, the Alliance hosted ”NFC OPEN Unconference Day,” an innovative open conference format. A facilitator enlisted attendees to propose self-organizing sessions and presentations in areas dealing with NFC technology and business adoption issues and opportunities. Some of the engaging topics on Thursday included:
- How Does NSTIC Play with NFC?
- Cloud and How it Affects Mobile & NFC
- Wallet (Pros & Cons) for a Consumer
- NFC Use Case for Healthcare–Best Ideas and Best Models
- Consumer Perspectives of NFC (Security)
- NFC Implementation Strategies
Notes from the Unconference Day are available on the event wiki at /nfcopen/index.php/Main_Page.
Also during the Summit, the Smart Card Alliance announced the officers of the newly-formed Mobile and NFC Council. The Council–which has attracted over 60 organizations and more than 120 individuals to date–will take a broad industry view and bring together stakeholders in the different vertical markets that can benefit from mobile and NFC applications including payments, loyalty, marketing, promotion/coupons/offers, peer-to-peer, identity, access control and transit applications. These officers will lead the Council in raising awareness and accelerating the adoption of the numerous applications possible with NFC technology:
- Chair: Brent Bowen, vice president, business development, INSIDE Secure
- Vice Chair: Chandra Srivastava, business leader, Visa Inc.
- Secretary: Doug Morgan, chief strategy officer, C-SAM
More information about this event and other upcoming Smart Card Alliance events is available at http://www.securetechalliance.org.
About the Smart Card Alliance
The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.
Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit http://www.securetechalliance.org.
About the NFC Forum
The NFC Forum was launched as a non-profit industry association in 2004 by leading mobile communications, semiconductor, and consumer electronics companies. The Forum’s mission is to advance the use of Near Field Communication technology by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services, and educating the market about NFC technology. The Forum’s 160+ global member companies currently are developing specifications for a modular NFC device architecture, and protocols for interoperable data exchange and device-independent service delivery, device discovery, and device capability.
The NFC Forum’s Sponsor members, which hold seats on the Board of Directors, include leading players in key industries around the world. The Sponsor members are: Barclaycard, Broadcom Corporation, INSIDE Secure, MasterCard Worldwide, Microsoft Corp., NEC, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Inc., NXP Semiconductors, Renesas Electronics Corporation, Samsung, Sony Corporation, STMicroelectronics, and Visa Inc.