Beijing throws a stone into the QRcode vs. NFC pond

Beijing metro authorities just announced they will start accepting QRcode based payment systems like Alipay from beginning of May. Alipay and WeChat are probably the largest payment systems in the world by their number of users. They rely on displaying QRcodes and an always online approach. Form early May, all entrance gates to subway stations in Beijing will be equipped with QR code readers. The next step in the evolution of payment systems at Beijing metro is that they will stop supporting NFC altogether. According to its supporters, the core advantage of Chinese QRcode systems is that they work on any phone that is connected to an electronic payment system like Alipay or Tenpay (WeChat).

Africa, next breeding ground for unicorns

For a few years already, the technology world has been focusing on unicorns, companies defined as having achieved a valuation over one billion dollars. One may admit that, just given the difference in terms of standard of living, this seems easier to reach in the most affluent parts of this world than in Africa. However, a few of these unicorns, or soon-to-be unicorns, have been uncovered in Africa. Most analysts identify Interswitch, a digital payments and commerce company providing solutions to the whole ecosystem from individuals to governments and financial institutions; Promasidor, a South African company selling food products online in over 30 African countries; Cell C, a fast-growin

Cardholders want them heavy!

Once basic functions are totally standardized, the only means for differentiation is in the look and feel of the product. The secure transactions industry has now reached a stage when EMV cards are issued in all major geographies worldwide, including latecomers to the technology such as China or the USA. As EMV cards are in the hands of everyone, issuers are looking for differentiation in their card offers through physical card features. Actually, issuers are just satisfying cardholders demands for status symbols through their payment cards. While payment networks specify unlimited credit functions for the MasterCard Black Card, Visa Signature Card, the American Express Centurion Card and

Qualcomm - Broadcom merger blocked by US authorities!

United States President Donald Trump just issued an executive order blocking Singapore-based Broadcom from acquiring Qualcomm, which is headquartered in the US, in a deal that would have been worth more than US$ 117 billion (EUR 95 billion), according to Bloomberg. Trump acted on a recommendation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), which reviews acquisitions of American firms by foreign investors. The order underscores the tough stance the Trump administration is taking on foreign takeovers of US technology firms with sentences like “Broadcom (…) might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” “the proposed takeover of Qualcomm by

PIN on Glass to end the mPOS era

Many technologies, when they start, are actually a trigger for the most creative minds to start and invent applications. From the beginning of NFC, many of us thought NFC handsets were not only a good solution to emulate a payment card but also to emulate a POS terminal. A handset with an NFC interface seemed a perfect device to read a contactless card! Unfortunately, there was obstacles on the way! Payment terminal security is not easy to transfer in an insecure handset. One wants to make sure payment card details are taken care of securely, a payment transaction cannot be tampered with and cannot give way to repudiation. The arrival of mPOS a few years ago, already demonstrated payment sec

FIDO announces FIDO2

FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance is now pushing further its objective to bring an ecosystem for standards-based, interoperable authentication. The alliance started with the definition of UAF (Universal Authentication Framework, based on a password) and U2F (Universal Second Factor, using a second factor authentication such as a physical device or biometrics) a few years ago. The FIDO specification, based on a Public Key architecture, provides models for registration and login functions. FIDO’s strengths lies in its impressive list of supporters! FIDO Board Level members include Alibaba, Amazon, American Express, ARM, Bank of America, Gemalto, Google, Infineon, Intel, Lenovo, Line, Master

Subscriber identity in 5G: shall we still see SIMs?

Those of us who have been in the mobile communication industry for long enough remember generation changes always happen the same way. The inception of 2G, 3G, LTE and 4G has followed the same evolution path. As 4G is deployed in most places around the world, the industry needs something new to keep growth going! Now, 5G is on everyone’s lips! First focus is on connectivity: the industry develops means to communicate faster than ever. Infrastructure vendors come first: they demonstrate they are able to provide base stations and other network equipment to build a network that allows faster speeds than ever before. In the case of 5G, low latency is also at stake along with the ability to suppo

How shall we keep the promise for trillions IoT devices?

The Internet of Things is everywhere at the Mobile World Congress. Every single booth belonging to a large company displays a car in order to demonstrate the company is part of the “Next Big Thing”, the convergence between automotive and telecommunications. However, sizing the Next Big Thing is not as easy as one may think in the first place. Analysts are guilty for having overpromised, anticipating volumes of IoT devices in the tens or hundreds of billions in the short term. Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, even talked about a trillion IoT devices in the next 20 years. Now, the industry is seen as underdelivering as the tens of billions are not happening now! No one is able to agree on a rea

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