You may remember the quote inscribed at the Rockfeller centre:
I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man's word should be
as good as his bond; that character-not wealth or power or position-
is of supreme worth.
Well, this sentence came to my mind in reading a news published by Technology Review on a new technology by Fujitsu
that is starting to be used to authenticate payments, thus offering an interesting substitution to the NFC.
The veins' pattern revealed by infrared light
NFC, Near Field Communications, is very popular in Japan
but it is having a hard time in conquering the US and European market.
Everybody is talking about it as the enabler for mPayments with cell phones.
But it may risk to be to late to win the market if this Fujitsu technology takes the upper hand.
Basically the merchant has a "hand" reader. By projecting an infrared beam on the palm of the
hand it detects the veins and this image is transformed into a unique code that is used
An intermediary can then associated the authenticated code with a credit card or any payment
method for completing the transaction.
Clearly, this authentication technique is more "handy" (shall we say?) than the NFC since you always have your hand with you. Scientists claim that this identification method is ever more secure than the one provided by the SIM (and it is more difficult to steal your hand, and keep it alive...).
I think that this technology can stimulate some lateral thinking on an Operator side. Rather than waiting for the cell phone manufacturers to deliver NFC terminals and for the market to absorb them it may be better to focus on the payment process itself, independently on the specific technology that will be used.
Indeed communications remain an indispensable component in an electronic payment and the other essential component is the management of the client data and related association. The Operator can become the trusted manager of the biometric data along with the association to the specific payment method desired by that client. The nice thing is that such a client does not need to be a client of that Operator for the connectivity part but just for the data part.
This is something crucial, at least in my perception. Operators have to start seeing themselves as both responsible for the physical connectivity and for the data connectivity, this latter independent of the specific network connectivity being used. It is like adding a new biz (and source of revenues) to the existing one, capitalizing on its assets.