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TSM: Friend or Foe to the NFC Marketplace?

White paper discusses why TSMs must align with industry standards to support the globalisation of NFC services.

FIME, a trusted provider of consulting services, certification and tools, has published a white paper that asks if the role of the trusted service manager (TSM) will help or hinder the globalisation of near field communication (NFC) services.

Titled, TSM: Friend or Foe to the NFC Marketplace?, this latest white paper from FIME explores the role of TSMs in supporting the delivery of NFC services internationally. It discusses the market drivers for the expansion of NFC services across borders, the value and challenges of creating a standardised and globally interoperable framework for TSMs, and how such an environment could be tested and validated.

Stephanie El Rhomri, NFC & Payment Vendors Business Line Manager at FIME and author of the white paper, comments: “With the recent launch of Apple Pay providing the NFC community with a much needed boost, now is the time for NFC stakeholders to capitalise on this lucrative technology. TSMs are the broker between different actors within this ecosystem, securely managing the business relationships, technical connections and security requirements. Their role is intrinsic to the success of NFC, yet we are still waiting to see the establishment of a formal and stable TSM infrastructure.”

While the paper details a number of different TSM standards that are available within the marketplace to promote global interoperability, most notably from GlobalPlatform - a standards body for managing applications on secure chip technology - it also states that these are slow to be adopted.

“Cross-border NFC opportunities – also called NFC roaming – have to happen to enable this market to support the global citizen with transit, loyalty and mobile wallet services,” explains Stephanie, who is also an active contributor to GlobalPlatform and Chair of its Device Compliance Programme Work Group. “With a global payment infrastructure already established, it is inevitable that consumers will expect this same level of worldwide interoperability through their mobile devices and these transactions should be seamless. This is possible, but only if the TSMs create a network that supports global NFC service delivery.”

FIME states in the white paper that testing will be at the heart of building a stable and secure TSM infrastructure that promotes confidence. “As an implementation partner which supports its customers from project initiation to execution, FIME strongly believes that implementing a trusted and validated ecosystem will benefit mobile network operators and service providers in the selection and integration of a TSM for their specific configuration,” adds Stephanie. “It will also strengthen interoperability by having a common and agreed testing method among the different stakeholders, and, because key functionalities have already been tested, it will ultimately speed up rollouts.”

FIME is working with other industry participants to deliver GlobalPlatform Messaging and End-to-End Compliance Programme by early 2015 which will address the needs of the TSM market. With new solutions such as host card emulation (HCE) and other cloud-based offerings coming to market, Stephanie concludes that no matter what technology is adopted, consistency, transparency and interoperability among stakeholders will safeguard the true potential of NFC services. Stephanie says: “As a multi-accredited, cross-industry brand, FIME has used its global expertise and regional knowledge to support the advancement of the NFC ecosystem for a number of years, and has contributed to a range of bodies to define the validation process of this evolving ecosystem. We know this is something that our customers want and something that the market needs, but are TSMs prepared to invest and meet this requirement?”

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