[Dave Birch] We spend a lot of our time looking at technology roadmaps for customers in different sectors, and these roadmaps have a lot of different technologies on them. Obviously one of the key ones is contactless and one of the challenging aspects of turning a technology timeline into a technology roadmap for particular markets is trying to understand the relationship between technology decisions and the business “layer”. Its natural to look around the world for similar examples, to help understand this relationship, but we have to be careful they are not misleading. So, for example, while we may look at (say) the Japanese market and obtain interesting ideas from it, it’s not a template for the (say) the European market. Apart from anything else, it is based on a different contactless standard. It happens, though, that some people think the standard may be coming our way.

The Japanese government’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has announced plans to work with mobile phone makers worldwide to increase the use of Sony’s FeliCa chip in handsets, according to an Associated Press report. The ministry’s work may help speed the adoption of phone-based payments options in western countries.

[From NFCNews | Government boost for global FeliCa adoption]

Personally, I’m not sure that is the trajectory. There is already a join venture (Moversa) to make NFC chips that work with both ISO and Felica standards, so I think that will do more to spread phone-based payments than the wider adoption of Felica. So, if you look at the phone we are using for the Orange / Barclaycard NFC product, the 6212, it can’t currently interface with Felica. This makes it unattractive in Asian markets where Felica is used for payments and transit, or even just transit. But in Europe it’s no problem, because payments and transit all use the ISO interface.

I can’t help but mention that Consult Hyperion helped to develop another ground-breaking Barclays MasterCard some time ago: this was the Barclays Sky MasterCard that can be used in a Sky box to access services. Well, now that Barclays are converting to contactless in a big way, I’ve already had a great idea for the next product in that space: check out this remote control for the new Sony TV in Japan:


Yes, that’s an NFC reader built in to the remote control! How cool is that. Who wouldn’t want to pay to watch a movie or buy stuff on a shopping channel by just tapping their contactless debit card or their mobile phone to their remote control and punching in their PIN. We wrote a paper about this a couple of years ago, suggesting implement the Visa DPA and MasterCard CAP protocols in the remote control because you can’t do full EMV transactions over the infra-red links between set-top boxes and remotes (because the IR links are one-way, so you can’t execute EMV Level 2 but you can cycle out the DPA/CAP cryptograms and card data so that the box can pick them up).

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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