{Dave Birch] NFC isn’t the only digital money technology in the world, but it’s certainly getting the most attention. At the risk of boring everyone senseless by going on about it again, I wanted to mention that at the In Club in Nice earlier this week, there was a presentation about the Nokia and G&D joint venture to develop a standard over-the-air (OTA) platform for managing NFC applications. It would mean that application issuers (eg, a bus company) could develop software for phones and consumers could get access to the applications in a standard way, but not all the standards ideally required to do this are in place yet.

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In particular, the presentation notes that their is a requirement for standardisation of the interface between the SIM and the NFC environment. There is already a standard for communicating with the SIM or USIM additional applications (JSR-177) and a standard for communicating with the NFC environment (JSR-257) but no standard for the NFC chip to communicate directly with the SIM. It would be a good thing to have standardisation here, provided that it is not too restrictive in operation.

My suggestion would be to let NFC applications load OTA or via local interfaces and let anyone load any application they like. However, using the standardised interface to the SIM, if they want access to the SIM (to place a GPRS call or whatever) then the application would need a key that is purchased from the operator. This seems like a fair compromise: no limitations on people experimenting or developing applications that don’t use the operators resource (the network) but a fair price for access to it if you do. This would also mean that if you downloaded some stupid game from the internet, it couldn’t start placing premium rate calls to the Ukraine or wherever.

As an aside, I’ll be running a workshop around these sorts of issues at the Mobile Payment Strategies conference in Munich on 8th December (thanks to Jim Wadsworth of AMDOCS for the correction), so perhaps I’ll see you there.

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