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Another course correction for 5G: network operators want closer NFV collaboration

9 Mar
  • Last week 22 operators and vendors (the G22) pushed for a 3GPP speed-up
  • This week an NFV White Paper: this time urging closer 5G & NFV interworking 
  • 5G should support ‘cloud native’ functions to optimise reuse

Just over four years ago, in late 2012, the industry was buzzing with talk of network functions virtualization (NFV). With the publication of the NFV White Paper and the establishment of the ETSI ISG, what had been a somewhat academic topic was suddenly on a timeline. And it had a heavyweight set of carrier backers and pushers who were making it clear to the vendor community that they expected it to “play nice” and to design, test and produce NFV solutions in a spirit of coopetition.

By most accounts the ETSI NFV effort has lived up to and beyond expectations. NFV is here and either in production or scheduled for deployment by most of the world’s telcos.

Four years later, with 5G now just around the corner, another White Paper has been launched. This time its objective is to urge both NFV and 5G standards-setters to properly consider operator requirements and priorities for the interworking of NFV and 5G, something they maintain is critical for network operators who are basing their futures on the successful convergence of the two sets of technologies.

NFV_White_Paper_5G is, the authors say, completely independent of the NFV ISG, is not an NFV ISG document and is not endorsed by it. The 23 listed network operators who have put their names to the document include Cablelabs, Bell Canada, DT, Chinas Mobile and Unicom, BT, Orange, Sprint, Telefonica and Vodafone.

Many of the telco champions of the NFV ISG are authors; in particular Don Clarke, Diego López and Francisco Javier Ramón Salguero, Bruno Chatras and Markus Brunner.

The paper points out that if NFV was a solution looking for a problem, then 5G is just the sort of complex problem it requires. Taken together, 5G’s use cases imply a need for high scalability, ultra-low latency, an ability to support multiple concurrent sessions; ultra-high reliability and high security. It points out that each 5G use case has significantly different characteristics and demands specific combinations of these requirements to make it work. NFV has the functions which can satisfy the use cases: things like Network Slicing, Edge Computing, Security, Reliability, and Scalability are all there and ready to be put to work.

As NFV is explicitly about separating data and control planes to provide a flexible, future-proofed platform for whatever you want to run over it, then 5G and NFV would seem, by definition, to be perfect partners already.

Where’s the issue?

What seems to be worrying the NFV advocates is that an NFV-based infrastructure designed for 5G needs to go further if it’s to meet carriers’ broader network goals. That means it will be tasked to not only enable 5G, but also support other applications –  many spawned by 5G but others simply ‘fixed’ network applications evolving from the existing network.

Then there’s a problem of reciprocity. Again, if the NFV ISG is to support that broader set of purposes and possible developments, not only should it work with other bodies to identify and address gaps for it to support; the process should be two-way.

One of the things the operators behind the paper seem most anxious to avoid is wasteful duplication of effort. So they want to encourage identity and reuse of “common technical NFV features”  to avoid that happening.

“Given that the goal of NFV is to decouple network functions from hardware, and virtualized    network functions are designed to run in a generic IT cloud    environment, cloud-native design principles and cloud-friendly licensing models are critical matters,” says the paper.

The NFV ISG has very much developed its thinking around those so-called ‘Cloud-native’ functions instead of big fat monolithic ones (which are often just re-applications of proprietary ‘non virtual’ functions). By contrast ‘cloud native’ is where functions are decomposed into reusable components which gives the approach all sorts of advantages.  Obviously a smooth interworking of NFV and 5G won’t be possible if 5G doesn’t follow this approach too.

As you would expect there has been outreach between the standards groups already, but clearly a few specialist chats at industry body meetings are not seen, by these operator representatives at least, as enough to ensure proper convergence of NFV and 5G. Real compromises will have to sought and made.

Watch Preparing for 5G: what should go on the CSP ‘to do’ list?

Picture: via Flickr © Malmaison Hotels & Brasseries (CC BY-ND 2.0)


Making a business case for Contactless / NFC payments

15 May


Since the time I posted an article regarding NFC payments  back in October 2013, I had a dozen of interesting discussions featuring the future of Contactless / NFC payments. Oddly enough, the most reoccurring question touched the point on when NFC payments will finally take off and do the magic. Well, the good news is – Contactless / NFC payments already took off, bad news is – Contactless / NFC payments are not suitable for every business.

Like every other initiative or project, introducing Contactless / NFC payments need a strong business case. Creating a business case is always a bit tricky and involves some magic, but luckily for NFC, we can use facts and figures to see whether Contactless / NFC payments will work for one’s business or not.

The basic fact is that Contactless / NFC payments do have quantitative limits. Those limits are put in place by card issuers like VISA or MASTERCARD and are quite simple:

Rule one: a single NFC purchase may not exceed 20 EUR

Rule two: a cumulative of all NFC purchases may not exceed 60 EUR

Any purchase failing rule one or rule two will be forced to be processed on-line (connection between the POS and the bank will be established) and will require card holder authorization (PIN or signature).

So back to the business case. Let’s go through simple steps.

ImageStep one: Can you sell your goods for a price under 20 EUR? If you can’t, then you can happily forget about Contactless / NFC as your purchases will violate rule number one. Here you need to determine the average value of purchases in your stores or the value of articles most commonly sold. If, for example, the average purchase from your business is around 15 EUR, you’re safe and can proceed to step two.

ImageStep two: Doing local research. For any Contactless / NFC payments project to be successful, you need your customer to actually have Contactless / NFC payments ready devices. Those include – bank issued cards, Contactless stickers, NFC sim cards or NFC capable smartphones. What is the penetration ratio of Contactless / NFC payments capable devices on those markets you operate? No idea? … you can find out more from local banks, bank associations, government financial authorities or from card issuers like VISA/MC/AMEX/DISCOVERER.

ImageStep three: Doing the math. Here we need to calculate total cost of Contactless / NFC payments implementation. Those may include but are not limited to: eventual purchase of new POS terminals including roll out costs, adjustments to POS software, adjustments to in-house payments processing software, testing and certifying the whole HW/SW solution by given authority (acquiring bank, VISA/MC, any government offices), solution testing in-house or externally, training of your IT staff, training of your sell guys, marketing costs (advertisement, printed posters and stickers in your stores, promotions), eventual incentives to customers using Contactless / NFC payments (even if for a limited time). There you go, now you have your total cost of Contactless / NFC payments implementation bill.

ImageStep four – allocating financial resources. Should you have enough money ready to play for the whole total cost of Contactless / NFC payments implementation bill – then you’re safe and proceed further. Should you be short of funding, you can consider contacting other bodies that will benefit from your Contactless / NFC payments implementation. Those are banks and card issuers. Their profit is clear – more card transactions means more transaction fees for them. Try to negotiate some sort of support from your acquiring bank, try to contact other banks and ask whether they can support your project. Go and ask your local VISA/MC/AMEX/DISCOVERER office for marketing or incentive support. Depending on the quality of your project, the size of your business or actual situation in your market … you might be able to receive significant bonuses.

ImageStep five – blending all information into a business case. Now you know whether you can actually sell your goods for NFC-friendly prices, know the penetration ratio or Contactless / NFC devices in your markets and have completed a basic balance sheet. Now just add your expectations from a successful  Contactless / NFC payments project and ready you go … your business case is ready.

Having a business case for Contactless / NFC payments is just the very first step and there are many more to do before your business will start accepting Contactless / NFC payments and generate extra revenue / profit, but every journey begins with the first step.


Wi-Fi teams up with NFC to create secure connections with a simple tap

10 Apr

The Wi-Fi Alliance is certifying a new technology that uses an NFC tap to grant devices access to Wi-Fi networks. The technology is targeted at the internet of things, but it would be very useful for smartphones too.

As Wi-Fi starts making its way into more internet-of-things gadgets, connecting those devices to Wi-Fi networks is becoming a chore. These activity trackers, thermostats and cameras don’t necessarily have the user interfaces or even screens we would use to configure a Wi-Fi connection on our smartphones or PCs. The Wi-Fi Alliance is now trying to make those connections easier with the help of near-field communications (NFC).

The Alliance has updated its Wi-Fi Protected Setup certification program to support NFC verification. Instead of entering a password or holding down buttons, you simply tap two Wi-Fi devices with NFC chips together to establish a connection. The technology can be used to connect devices to a local network by tapping a router, or two end-user devices by tapping them together.

For example, I’ve been testing out Whistle’s dog activity tracker for the last few months, which uses both Bluetooth to connect to my phone and Wi-Fi to connect to home network. Connecting my Whistle to my home network is a multi-step task, requiring first pairing the gadget with my phone with Bluetooth and then configuring the device to connect to my Wi-Fi through Whistle’s smartphone network. Whistle is more useful the more networks it connects to, but if I wanted to add additional Wi-Fi networks to the device – say at my parents’ place or at the kennel — the owners of those networks would have to go through the same process.

The Whistle canine activity tracker (source: Whistle)

The new Wi-Fi Protected capability (and an NFC chip) would make Whistle connect instantly to the network over a secure WPA2 connection with a mere bump against the router. Of course, that’s assuming you want to give that kind of easy access to the world of internet-of-things devices. Wi-Fi Protected uses proximity as security, assuming if you can get close to a router or gadget, then it’s authorized to share connectivity. Not everyone wants their Wi-Fi networks — or devices — to be so open.

A small startup called Pylon is exploring some interesting use cases for NFC-brokered connections in the home that may address some of those security concerns. It has developed a Wi-Fi beacon that creates a guest wireless network that can be accessed with an NFC tap or a “bump” of the iPhone (the accelerometers in the devices trigger the handshake). Instead of granting all network rights to those guest devices, Pylon could restrict users to internet access only and for a short interval, say 30 minutes.

Pylon's NFC-brokered Wi-Fi system (source: Pylon)

The Wi-Fi Alliance said it is now certifying devices using the new technology, and among the gadgets on its test list is Google’s Nexus 10 tablet. I wouldn’t, however, expect a huge flood of new gadgets using the capabilities. While NFC is making it into more and more smartphones, it’s still rare in devices like wearable and smart appliances. The goal of many these device manufacturers is to make their devices as inexpensive as possible, and adding an additional radio contradicts that trend.

Still, there could be a lot of use cases for NFC-brokered connections in smartphones. Instead of trying to dig up passwords whenever a friend wants to connect to your home network, they could just tap to connect. And as Wi-Fi hotspots make their way into connected cars, Wi-Fi Protected could be a brilliantly simple way to connect a tablet to the in-car network.



MasterCard & Visa adopt Host Card Emulation (HCE) for NFC-based mobile payments

20 Feb

MC-VISA_HCEBoth companies have announced (independently but at the same time) that they will adopt HCE for cloud based payments utilising Host card Emulation for NFC mobile payments. An open architecture, HCE enables payments and other NFC services – including loyalty programs, building access and transit passes – to be delivered without the use of a secure element (SE). HCE is supported in theAndroid OS KitKat 4.4, which began shipping in November 2013 and continues to roll out on popular smart devices. 

MasterCard will publish a specification that leverages Host Card Emulation (HCE) for secure near field communication (NFC) payment transactions. The approach will enable consumers to easily use their MasterCard-branded cards on their NFC-enabled phones to make contactless payments. Today, there are two million contactless-enabled merchant locations in 63 countries around the world. The specification, developed over the past year with Capital One and Banco Sabadell, marks a significant industry milestone that, in addition to MasterCard’s longstanding support for embedded and SIM-based SE implementations, will drive greatly expanded availability of mobile contactless payments for consumers. “Consumers are now shopping and paying in whatever way best fits their needs and lifestyles – and from every device they own. To meet their expectations for convenience, we need to accelerate the availability of services in the market. The use of HCE provides a very attractive way forward to launch an increased number of NFC-based offerings,” said James Anderson, Group Head, Emerging Payments at MasterCard. “We continue to set standards and deliver solutions to our partners and customers that deliver great experiences for safe and secure digital payments.”

As a critical part of the specification development process, MasterCard worked with Capital One on the initial pilot and with Banco Sabadell on a European pilot. The pilots have helped inform MasterCard’s direction, and the learnings will pave the way for additional deployments planned in 2014 with other financial institutions around the world. “For Capital One, the pilot was about exploring new ways to commercially deploy an NFC-based offering and securely store credentials. We’ve enjoyed a longstanding partnership with MasterCard, and we continue to work together to deliver innovative solutions for our bank customers,” said Jack Forestell, Executive Vice President, Digital, Capital One.

MasterCard’s approach combines custom software on the mobile device with highly secure cloud-based processing. This greatly simplifies and speeds the deployment process of NFC-based mobile offerings to consumers by card-issuing financial institutions. MasterCard plans to publish its secure remote payment specifications during the first half of 2014.

Not to be overshadowed by MasterCard, Visa also announced it is offering clients new options to securely deploy mobile payment programs, including Visa payWave-enabled accounts in a secure, virtual cloud. “Our clients and partners around the globe are continuously looking for flexible, cost efficient and secure ways to enable mobile payments,” said Elizabeth Buse, Executive Vice President, Global Solutions, Visa Inc. “The Android HCE feature provides us with a platform to evolve the Visa payWave standard, support the development of secure, cloud-based mobile applications, while at the same time offer greater choice to our clients.”

According to data released by International Data Corporation in February 2014, 78 percent of smartphones sold in Q4 2013 run on the Android operating system, and Android is enjoying strong gains in markets outside the U.S., including in China and Latin America. Android also recently became the fastest platform to reach one billion users worldwide. “The Android community continues to build innovative ways to improve the lives of mobile users. We introduced HCE to make it easier for developers to create NFC applications like mobile payments, loyalty programs, transit passes, and other custom services,” said Benjamin Poiesz, Google Android Product Manager. “Visa’s move to enable NFC payments with Android devices is welcome news and will guide the way for the payments industry.”

In addition to supporting clients who are hosting the Visa account data on secure elements in smartphones, Visa is extending the Visa Ready Program to also support financial institutions and partners who wish to securely deploy Visa accounts in the cloud. The program provides new standards, tools, services and implementation guidelines, and ensures that cloud-based applications with Visa payment functionality are compatible with Visa’s requirements and payment industry security standards.

Ensuring payment security, say Visa, is one of their highest priorities and security in cloud-based payments is no exception. Visa intend to deploy several layers of security to protect payment accounts in the cloud, including at the Visa network, application and hardware levels. One-time use data, real-time transaction analysis, payment tokens and device fingerprinting technology make up a multi-layered defense against unauthorized account access.


NFC Payments – chance for the roadblock to be cleared

20 Feb

What Is Isis Mobile Payment?

Using your mobile phone to pay for things at a point of sale has long been an unfulfilled desire.  I and many people I know would like to be able to use our phones to pay,  start an app, select the card/account you want to use,  and then authorise payment.

The first part, is not that hard, indeed there have been many proof of concepts over the years, (indeed I was involved some 7 or 7 years ago now!) none achieving success.
The reason is that the banks and the mobile operators would both like to be the owner of the wallet and payment mechanism,  as there are lots of revenue and profit to be had.  So each keep to a situation that blocks the other.
On the one hand the mobile operators defend access to the most secure parts of the device making it very hard for an app to have acceptable security on the device side.
On the other hand the banks and credit card suppliers keep data protection rules and standard operating procedures that effectively make it impossible for an operator to use the customer’s existing banks/credit cards.

All very frustrating for those of us wanting to carry less, and be able to pay with ease.

Now however there is a possible, and we’ll come to why it is only possible, break to this impasse,  as there is a standard that lets you store the most secure parts of the payment card in “the cloud” bypassing the requirement to access the phone’s secure element, and there are reports today that this is being supported by Visa and Mastercard.  If this comes about then one side of the impasse is unblocked, and progress can be made.
Ok so the standard is called Host Card Emulation (HCE) and here is a google article, and a list of HCE news from NFC world, and the important thing is,  once the credit card companies lend support then there is a chance that your standard debit or credit card can be made to work,  and that’s when this really gets interesting.

However, one of the reasons why this might yet another of a series of false dawns, is that for this to work, it would appear to rely on having a working, effective connection over the internet to the cloud platform.  notwithstanding the role out of 4G and the supposedly improved indoor coverage (I’m yet to see it, with my Vodafone 4G device) the connectivity in shops can be very poor indeed.  In particular the large out of town stores.  So either the stores put in femto/pico cells for each carrier in each store, the operators provide better coverage, or stores have a frictionless wifi process.
Otherwise the payment would be unreliable, or not available,  and that will kill this dead.  We consumers demand perfection from our payment mechanisms.

I deliberately did not tie the payment mechanism to NFC because the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) connections (you might know these through the Apple term iBeacons) could replace the need for NFC.  Good for not having to physically get your phone within 4cm of the point of sale reader, but potentially bad as all devices in a, up to, 30 meter range of a beacon could connect.  This would allow Apple devices to work (they have no plans for NFC support).
Given that BTLE is upto 11okb/s it may be possible to have the link to the payment servers, e over BTLE, as I presume that the request would be a few relatively small request / response pairs, so obviating the need for wifi or mobile data. hmm liking that idea.


BLE vs NFC vs RFID: Learn the differences!

17 Feb

20140215 BLE versus NFC versus RFID and Retail Customer Experience Infographic

Consumers are facing more technology as mobile payments are introduced. Each technology brings new terminology and new challenges to personal security and the protection of one’s hard-earned assets.

We suggest the infographic available from Retail Customer Experience and developed with Pyrim Technologies is a great way to learn about some of the terms most often heard in the mobile payments discussions. It provides clear definitions of and contrasts between BLE (“Bluetooth Low Energy”) and NFC(“Near Field Communications”), the two technologies most often associated with mobile shopping and payment solutions.

A close read shows that BLE is intended for broadcast only. There is no data exchange with the receiving device, typically BLE-enabled Smartphone. Thus, that technology poses no threat to personal security and no private information is shared with the shopkeeper.

NFC, on the other hand, derived from RFID (“Radio Frequency IDentification”) as developed in the 1940’s, is used for a wider variety of purposes or solutions; “use cases” as termed in the article. Some of these are data exchanges and involve mobile payments. This is the basic technology and set of communications protocols that bring with them a threat to personal information.

While authorized scans are considered safe, unauthorized ones that convert the Smartphone into a contactless scanner can retrieve personal data from a contactless card. It is also possible such a device could intercept private information from a Smartphone storing the same data and left in payment mode. They are also capable of reading an unprotected passport with embedded proximity scanning capabilities.

We invite you to read the article and learn about the realities of these very useful and increasingly popular technologies and discover how they may change your shopping and buying experiences in the very near future.

We suggest protecting your contactless payment and identification cards as well as your scannable passport. Our own CARD ID Preserver 10-packs and our Combo Packs are available for sale on Amazon. You can find them via our listings.

Our Combo Packs with Passport Protectors and our Credit Card Protectors alone in a 10-pack.

We look forward to serving you in the future.

BLE vs. NFC [infographic]

Compliments of Retail Customer Experience


Spanish transport company gets Ticktrack NFC solution

31 Jan


Madrid-based Jiménez Dorado has selectedTicktrack for their private commuter buses. Ticktrack is developed by Aditium, a software development company specialized in mobile solutions for transport, events and retail. Starting in March over 10,000 commuters in Madrid will be using the new fare collection system on a daily basis to get to work. 

“From the very beginning we saw the potential of NFC to solve our needs, directing a fleet of buses across the busy city of Madrid during rush hour with sometimes up to 800 passengers at each stop was a complex task, with Ticktrack our operators can make better decisions that improve the efficiency of our fleet and identify new ways to improve our services,” said Rafael Jimenez Dorado, director, Autobuses Jiménez Dorado.

Ticktrack’s custom software is designed for transport companies seeking to update fleet management solutions at a fraction of the cost of traditional contactless reader infrastructures. The solution harnesses the capability of NFC host card emulation to turn a smartphone into a contactless card reader. To validate a fare, commuters simply hold their employer issued transit card over the driver’s smartphone when entering the bus and the trip is registered to the online server. Eneko Arza, CEO of Aditium, said, “Smartphones today have vast productivity potential, our goal is to help businesses of any size harness the power of mobile technology by creating intelligent business solutions.”

Ticktrack communicates with a remote online server to provide information about the number of passengers and the location of each bus in real-time. All data is logged into the system and can be accessed by the system administrator remotely through a control panel. The cloud-based software is easy to install, implement and scale, offering remote maintenance and updates.

Ticktrack’s closed-loop system offers functionality, even when internet connection is lost temporarily due to network overload or areas with poor WiFi. Ticktrack is compatible with contactless cards and NFC smartphones or devices. Optional features include two-way communication, allowing the administrator to send a message to the fleet for important notifications such as traffic jams or unexpected delays and the ability to develop applications for mobile phone users such as real-time arrival schedules and route planners.



NFC: It’s hiding in plain sight

21 Dec

The holiday shopping season is in full swing; we’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday and are rapidly approaching the after-Christmas sales.

This year a key part of that shopping experience has involved mobile payments — the use of a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone to pay for goods and services. What once was just a concept in the minds of technologists is fast becoming reality and, in the process, providing consumers and vendors alike with greater ease of payment and more efficient tracking.

As a result, the number of merchants accepting mobile payments continues to climb at a dramatic rate, as does the number of consumers trying mobile payments for the first time. The last thing either of these camps wants to worry about as they explore this brave new world of shopping is security. Luckily, a number of emerging technologies may now hold the key to making mobile payments much more secure.

One such technology, Near Field Communication, enables the transfer of data between devices like smartphones, chip cards (a card with an embedded, unique microchip that encrypts or “scrambles” user data, making it virtually impossible to copy) and other similar devices, by simply touching them together or bringing them close to one another (usually just a few centimeters). Unlike Bluetooth, NFC requires no pairing, which makes device authentication easier. Also, since NFC is very low power, a battery is not required in the device being read (e.g., the chip card).

With just a tap of your NFC-enabled smartphone or chip card against an NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminal, a merchant could easily take your payment and even identify things like your specific shopping preferences or apply a customer loyalty program reward. Companies such as Samsung and Visa are certainly working to promote this concept by making mobile payments through smartphones commonplace, but would it surprise anyone to know the technology is already in use today?

For a prime example, look no further than the closest McDonald’s; the chain has already installed contactless payments infrastructure in most of its POS systems worldwide, and now offers mobile contactless payments to NFC-enabled handsets.

Consumers not yet aware

In truth, many consumers currently have NFC technology embedded in their phones and credit cards and don’t even know it. That’s because the technology has advanced well ahead of its consumer awareness and usage models. Consumers are waking up to the technology and its benefits, however. With smaller, more energy-efficient NFC chips in development, and with the full gamut of handset manufacturers, POS terminal manufacturers and payments technology providers making the technology available to their customers, it’s only a matter of time before consumers everywhere will be equipped with NFC-enabled devices capable of interacting with other NFC infrastructure devices for the purposes of mobile payment.

One area where NFC will play a key role is as an enabler of contactless chip cards. Chip card technology comes in two variations. Contacted chip cards, also known as chip-and-pin cards, are slid into a slot in a POS terminal and require a personal ID number or secret numeric password for authentication. In contrast, contactless chip cards rely on NFC technology to securely exchange information. Both chip card variations promise to provide consumers with a mobile payment experience that is simple, quick and highly secure.

One reason chip cards offer better security is their use of dynamic authentication. Essentially, dynamic values are introduced into each transaction, reducing a criminal’s ability to use stolen payment card data. Even if criminals manage to get their hands on this data to create a counterfeit cards, they would be unusable without the original cards’ unique elements. By comparison, modern magnetic strip cards are relatively easy for thieves to duplicate or replicate.

EMV is coming

Like NFC technology, chip cards are already in use today around the world. Just this year, Visa began supporting contactless chip card payments. Most consumers remain oblivious to this fact. Also, many of the POS systems, through which those contactless payments would be made, now feature a dual interface, meaning they can accept both contacted and contactless chip card devices. But the terminals are often shipped with this feature turned off because up to now, security has not been a motivating factor for merchants.

What merchants do care about is complying with industry standards, and the deadline they face for that compliance in the United States is October 2015. That’s the date by which the payment industry must comply with new EMV (an acronym derived from Europay, MasterCard, Visa) standards or be forced to assume liability for fraudulent purchases.

EMV is a global standard governing security and interoperability of chip-based payment cards, and it will be a formidable tool in helping to combat the high rate of card cloning fraud with current magnetic stripe technology. For those merchants who adopt it earlier than October 2015, by deploying dual-interface POS terminals, the benefit will be not only safer customer transactions but also the possible elimination of their requirement to re-certify PCI validation with the payment card industry every year.

Any merchant accepting credit cards today is required to be in compliance with PCI standards, which ensure all payment terminals and companion devices contain the encryption technologies needed to provide the highest level of security for cardholder data. That puts added demands on POS terminal and companion device manufacturers, as well as suppliers of “the brains” into those systems, to continue developing the advanced technologies necessary to help ensure these systems achieve PCI compliance.

Mobile payments are now a reality and gaining traction with each passing day. Thanks to advanced technologies like NFC, chip card devices and compliance to evolving standards like EMV and PCI, today’s consumers can be more assured of the security and reliability of their mobile payments.

Learn more about contactless/NFC and security.


NFC – what have we learnt so far?

24 Oct

At Posterscope we have been testing and demonstrating NFC to our clients for five years, so it’s certainly been a long time coming.  In 2011 we ran the UK’s first pilot campaign in partnership with Proxama to promote the X-Men movie.

Over the last year there has been a dramatic rise in the number of clients rolling out NFC campaigns and our 2014 campaign planning demonstrates that growth will continue, helped by the expectation that one third of the smartphones sold globally this year will support NFC.

So far, Posterscope have ran over 20 NFC campaigns with a wide variety of applications and using a range of formats and environments; from bus shelters to beermats and in-store displays.

Brands using NFC include ABInbev, Nestle, KFCTransworld Publishing, Domino’s, and many more. A range of applications have been deployed such as the delivery of exclusive music and audio, sample book chapters, vouchering, competitions, social links, maps and directions and even purchase options straight from the poster.

Effectiveness & Learnings:

Brand equity statements and purchase intent can increase significantly:

  • For Becks Vier 51% said it would make them more likely to purchase a Becks Vier in a pub/bar and 32% for off trade.
  • The NFC campaign also increased 11 brand equity statements shifting the average from 51 to 68%.
  • Consumers claimed it made the brand seem more innovative, progressive and trendsetting.

Interactions tend to peak during the first week of a campaign so brands should consider changing the OOH creative and consumer reward for the 2nd week.

A strong, clear and simple call to action increases interaction rates.

Transworld Publishing created our most successful campaign to date.  Whilst the reward was a sample chapter the poster simply referenced ‘freebies here’.

It’s still early days for NFC so interaction levels are modest and appropriate location selection is key.

Apple users interact less. Those with iOS are still important given that they represent 31% of the UK smartphone market and iphone users can interact with most of our campaigns by using the QR code option, however only 24% of interactions come from iOS.

NFC now accounts for over a third of interactions (when offering both NFC and QR options) and this has doubled in the last year.


Of course NFC is no panacea (Beacons anyone?) but all in all its good progress so far. What’s really needed are some hero applications that take the experience to the next level and inspire both brands and the consumers regarding the possibilities…watch this space!


Digital wallet: QR vs. NFC. who will replace our credit card?

24 Oct

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