Samsung betting on OSPT to crack contactless retail market

CIPURSE, soon in your pocket

Bringing the lessons learnt by the Android ecosystem to the secure fare collection market is a logical step.

This is the takeaway conclusion of our briefing with Samsung's Thomas Arenz, ‎Head of Marketing Communications at Samsung Semiconductor Europe GmbH.

Thomas argues that NFC (Near Field Contact) technology has yet to pick up but things might change thanks to the Open Standard for Public Transportation consortium.

Despite its name, OSPT is not only focusing on public transport. The open security standard it is advocating, CIPURSE, is already being used by a major European vendor and it is understood that it is attracting major interest globally.

A big household name in the US and quite a few mobile network operators are considering rolling out open standard solutions in order to replace proprietary ones.

Learning from mobile

Like Android and the Open Handset Alliance, OSPT looks to foster an environment that will allow companies to innovate and come up with solutions that fulfil the potential of contactless technology.

Thomas mentioned the fact that more than 30 million smartphones per month are shipped with NFC, many of which are manufactured by Samsung itself.

The short term goal of OSPT is to reduce licensing fees, which in term lowers barriers to entry and allows players to propose value added services to the ecosystem.

Long term, it is the very concept of retail that could be changed. Allowing a single card or device to be the platform on which all cards – up to 40 for now - reside (loyalty card, bank card, library card, transport card) can make physical transactions much more seamless.

Brick and mortar revival

Crucially, Thomas claims, it might help to revive the high street by bringing the same level of personalisation that customers have come to expect of online retailers such as Amazon.

As far as privacy is concerned, there is no need to have credit card details as the NFC card can act like an authentication key.

Interoperability will be crucial to the success of OSPT as well as gaining credibility. However with the backing of Samsung, Giesecke and Devient and many others as well as the lack of a brand owner like Android's Google, OSPT's journey to fruition is likely to be smoother.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.