Emerging technologies in NFC

Three days of great sessions here in Austin at the NFC Solutions Summit have made it clear how far NFC has come. Because of the compatibility with mainstream contactless smart cards, multiple ecosystems are embracing NFC. Many speakers referenced the more than 250 mobile handsets that are available today. It’s easier to drive adoption when so many users are already carrying an NFC-capable device.

The payment industry was well represented, with ISIS showing growth and MasterCard and Visa embracing HCE. Tokenization was a hot topic as a technique to accelerating the adoption of NFC payments. Many transit providers were here as well, as modern fare gates are all NFC-compatible. I was intrigued to learn that ISIS payment works today at contactless POS terminals in Europe.

There was a lot of interest in my talk on Identity and Access Control. Many people are starting to realize that there are valuable use cases for NFC beyond payment. I covered the basics of physical and logical access, both for on-device apps, and in card emulation mode as a badge replacement. Recent news, such as our PIV-in-UICC project with Telus, provided real-world examples of how this improves the user experience.

With so many NFC experts in one place, emerging technologies that are complementary to NFC were also on the agenda. The hottest new areas are Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Host Card Emulation (HCE), tokenization, and the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). Several speakers covered the benefits of the TEE-enabled Trusted User Interface. Intercede’s implementation of the MyID Identity Agent running in the TEE that delivers this benefit was demonstrated in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. And it was good to catch up with many of Intercede’s partners about the latest developments as we plan our roadmap.

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