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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Thursday, October 22, 2020

When Can I Pay for Stuff with my iPhone?

Identity, Information Security, Privacy, Technology, Telecom
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, April 15, 2011
10:47 am

 

I am anxious for the time when I can buy groceries or pay for a meal with my iPhone.  According to Juniper Research, that time may be be closer than you would think.

As reported by GigaOM, Juniper Research predicts that 1 in 5 Smartphones Will Have NFC by 2014.  NFC, or “Near Field Communication,” is a technology that allows a payment to be made by holding a device, such as a mobile phone, in close proximity to a NFC-capable point of sale terminal.

I think it would be great to use a mobile wallet on my iPhone, working in concert with an NFC chip embedded within my iPhone, to make a payment.

The GigaOM article states:

Juniper said the increasing momentum behind NFC, with a stream of vendor and carriers announcements in recent months, is helping boost the prospects of NFC. North America will lead the way, according to Juniper, with half of all NFC smartphones by 2014. France, in particular, is off to a quick start, with 1 million NFC devices expected this year.

Of course, there is more than just putting moble wallet apps and NFC chips on smartphones.

But the NFC ramp-up will still faces challenges. With so many players involved, from merchants, operators, manufacturers and web giants like Google, service complexity will be an issue. The industry also needs to work out business models around NFC while ensuring strong security for consumers unfamiliar with the concept of a mobile wallet, said Howard Wilcox, the author of the report.

Which smart phone vendor will be first to the races with a mainstream NFC-equipped device? Will the next iPhone be NFC-equipped?  I hope so, but I had also hoped for that in the iPhone 4.  Time will tell.  I’m just hoping for sooner, rather than later.

And, by the way, Identity Management and Information Security are crucial to an overall solution. Knowing who the user is and that user wants to do, and making sure their information is absolutely safe, are critical components of the mobile payments infrastructure that must be built. In that vein, its great to be in the industry that is making this all happen.

 

 

Intel and McAfee: What Do You Think?

Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, August 20, 2010
5:48 pm

Yesterday’s announcement that Intel would pay $7.68 billion for McAfee, Inc. triggered a couple of instant thoughts:

  1. McAfee has come a long way from when I first met founder John McAfee in the early 1990’s in a small, cluttered office in Santa Clara.
  2. Intel/McAfee: What strange bedfellows!

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According the Wall Street Journal article where I first read the news, Intel executives were bullish (as they should have been, after laying nearly $8 billion on the table in a surprise deal.)

“Intel executives argued growing security dangers require new measures, describing the acquisition as an essential step to design chips and other hardware that can protect systems better than software alone. …

"’We believe security will be most effective when enabled in hardware,’ Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini said in a conference call.

In Yahoo press coverage, Mr. Otellini is quoted:

"Everywhere we sell a microprocessor, there’s an opportunity for a security software sale to go with it … It’s not just the opportunity to co-sell, it’s the opportunity to deeply integrate these into the architecture of our products."

Business week’s analysis was a bit less upbeat:

“Intel will have to persuade customers they need security in non-PC electronics in much the same way it has convinced businesses and consumers that they required chips that speed computing tasks or ensure seamless wireless connections.

“’Right now nobody is screaming for security in their cars and in their cell phones,’ said Gartner’s Peter Firstbrook.”

Forrester Research’s Andrew Jaquith was downright negative:

“What on earth does Intel expect to get for all of the money it is spending on McAfee? I’ve been scratching my head over this, and despite McAfee CTO George Kurtz’ helpful blog post, I am still struggling to figure this one out. …

“I see four problems with Intel’s strategy (at least as much as I can glean, so far):

  • Neither Intel nor McAfee are serious players in the mobility market …
  • Intel’s hardware platform strategy will not work. …
  • Intel doesn’t understand software. …
  • The security aftermarket will be very different on Post-PC devices. …”

What do I think?

  1. I agree that security at the chip level is part of an integrated end-to-end security chain that will be essential in the mobile market, especially as mobile devices are enabled for mobile payments and other high-value functions.
  2. I wonder why Intel had to buy a whole company to get the security expertise necessary to build in security at the silicon level.  Maybe McAfee has some diamonds in the rough hidden away in the R&D lab that will justify Intel’s big acquisition.
  3. This very visible acquisition highlights the critical need for Information Security, a topic that is near to my heart.

What do you think?

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Pay by Phone: The Rising Tide of Mobile Payments

Telecom
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, August 20, 2010
5:14 pm

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Yesterday, in an interesting article yesterday for ReadWriteWeb, Mike Melanson wrote about increased industry cooperation in mobile payments:

Bank of America has started working with Visa to begin testing the use of smartphones to make in-store payments without the need for cash or credit cards. The system will make use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is a short-range communication technology for mobile phones, to make payments as simple as waving your phone at another NFC-enabled device.

Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb reported earlier in the week that:

Apple has just hired Benjamin Vigier, an expert in the field of near-field communications, as its new product manager for mobile commerce, reports NearFieldCommunicationsWorld.com, a trade publication for NFC-based products.

A couple of my colleagues at Sun Microsystems had predicted that the iPhone 4 would include NFC capability.  They were premature, but I hope the next iPhone version is NFC enabled, because I really like the idea of mobile payments, and by then, my 3GS iPhone will be due for replacement.  We’ll see …

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