[Dave Birch] Well, it’s Halloween. I never much cared for it, as I was brought up on the traditional British November 5th celebration of intolerance, Guy Fawkes night, when we remember, remember the failure of our first great religious terrorist, Guido Fawkes and joyously dance around burning effigies of noted criminals, spiritual leaders and so on. To take my mind off of it, I went off to Digital Disruption 2013 to see how our clients on the telecommunications side of things might take advantage of changing technology.  I ran into a French lady there.  She was a little overdressed, if you ask me, but I don’t know too much about fashion so I was in no position to judge!  Anyway, as she seemed to venerate the fashions of a now-distant past, I went over to ask whether she saw much future for NFC or not.  I asked for her perspectives on the MNO NFC efforts underway in France.  She seemed a little puzzled, and I thought perhaps her English was not too good, and I tried again, only this time speaking loudly and slowly.  But nothing.  Perhaps I was talking at too high a level, so I went down a notch.  It took me a while to explain to her the difference between NFC interfaces and card emulation interfaces, but eventually she screamed with delight at my incisive analysis of the varying technology roadmaps associated with secure element-based NFC payments and “NoSE” (No Secure Element) applications.

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She told me that she had to go and have her head chopped off, so I went looking for someone else to talk to.  One of the stimulating topics of conversation that I thought of was the difference between “chip and signature” and “chip and PIN” and why the inclusion of PIN at the top of a card CVM list would lead to one or even two orders of magnitude less fraud.  I fancied this as a sound conversational stratagem because it would inevitably lead to a quite heated discussion about US market strategy.  I mentioned this to a gray-haired chap standing next to me and he stared at me blankly!  So I explained it all again, but this time in a little more detail.  He must have been a visitor as he didn’t seem to understand me either, even when I showed him a collection of cards with different CVMs.

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Oh well, I spotted some people dancing and I thought it would be fun to join them.  I saw one nice looking lady delegate so I thought I’d ask her to dance.  She seemed a little vacant to me but it had been a long day, so I thought I would try and cheer up with a funny story about the development of smart watches.

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As you can see she thought it was hilarious!  When I got back to the hotel, I blogged about it so that you can all enjoy it.  She made some comment about how much the living must envy the dead and vanished, unlike Tony Poulos who is surprisingly hard to get rid of unless you happen to pass a bar serving free beer, which we did.  I then ran into a group of dedicated electronic transaction fans who I noticed were following me.  I didn’t quite catch what they were talking about, so I thought I’d introduce myself and see if they were fans of the “Atlantic Model” of federated identity management along the lines of the US NSTIC and UK IDA initiatives.  I took their silence to be agreement.

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They seemed genuinely surprised when I told them some of my ideas for separating the fundamentally different telco activities of identity provision and credential and reputation management and how the telcos might provide open, transparent and non-discriminatory access to the basic identity services for third-party credentials.  I didn’t quite catch what they said about it (rather amusingly, it sounded like “kill me”, but I think they were actually saying “tell me”) but by that time most people had gone and the area was deserted.  I was thinking about the different strategies being adopted by our clients in the USA and Europe, particularly because of the European regulatory, when I bumped into a chap who appeared to have the haunted look of a banker who had been studying the European Commission’s consultation document of direct access to bank accounts by licensed third-parties.  He seemed quite interested but unfortunately I didn’t have time to finish my explanation of the Single European Payment Area (SEPA) and the current state of pan-European migration to the new SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit standards before the lights went out at midnight and I was forced to find my way out in the dark.

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While I was doing this, surrounded by people working at the forefront of the telecommunications sector, preparing my notes for the session that I was going to chair on Data Security and Privacy, I became mildly excited.  You know, if identity really is the new money, that could be great for the telcos because they are obvious contenders to provide the identity infrastructure.  But, of course, the telcos in general and the MNOs in particular might decide to leave these crucial elements of the new economy to other players:  Facebook, maybe, or Apple or Google.  If that happens, then some of our most important clients will find themselves bypassed by service providers who see the telcos as nothing more than dumb pipes.  Now that’s really scary.

These are personal opinions and should not be misunderstood as representing the opinions of 
Consult Hyperion or any of its clients or suppliers

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