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Lost in Atlantis?

Week 27, 2011

For long, the secure transactions has been Europe-centric: technology was patented by a French man, developed by French and German industries, the SIM was created as an ETSI (European Telecom Standards Institute), EMV cards started in several European countries in Europe, ePassports and eIDs were first adopted in Europe, etc. And for long the US were a terra incognita for the secure transactions industry.

Now, we see major US-based companies taking the lead on NFC developments. The most visible players are now called Google, Isis, Visa, RIM, Apple, … who are paving the way for the development of a global NFC ecosystem.

This shift of power goes along with a shift in standardization philosophy. Standardization European style is conducted between well-mannered players, who sit around a table for days, months or even years, in order to reach a consensus on the specification of a future technology. Then, all of them deliver standards-compatible products

Standardization US-style relates more to a far-west scene. The first who draws the gun, or who succeeds in rolling out his system, sets up his own standard, based on his own expertise, strategy and interest in the technology. Others are left with either supporting a different technology (or just a different version) or going through the patent attorneys of the first-mover.

After years of standardizing the secure transactions industry European style, Google, Isis, and others are making us change to a more US-centric approach. Maybe a midterm could be found on the Atlantis … before it drowns in the Ocean.

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief Editor

Smart Insights