Near Field Communication vs. Low Energy Bluetooth
With all the hype about near-field communication and the incredible impact it will have on technology in a great number of areas, don't forget that we are still in 2011 and that nearly every smartphone is bluetooth compatible, and just one or two are NFC compatible at this present moment with Apple taking the opposite stance of Google.
Will NFC totally catch on like Bluetooth? Not until at least 2014.
New Bluetooth Low Energy Speedway
Bluetooth v4.0 is 50 times faster than classical Bluetooth solutions, allowing for transactions to occur in four milliseconds and addresses the security concerns of mobile commerce. Low Energy is an open standard developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Ericsson, Lenovo, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Toshiba, and 14,000 member companies). Here's more detailed information and specs from Texas Instruments.
Our Interview With Joseph Vajda, CEO of RollComm Corporation
Me: “It’s just that NFC, like QR Codes are “open-source”, is there any “open-source” Bluetooth technology that could take off?”
Vajda: "Now, there is not currently, “open-source” Bluetooth mobile payment technology.
The Rollpay possibility, become “open-source” and Global Standard Bluetooth Mobile Payment Technology, the goal".
Me: “If I were to put a chip into a product- Bluetooth vs. NFC, which would be cheaper per 1000?”
Vajda: "Low Energy Bluetooth chip is already very low and will be even cheaper, because of the merger between Texas Instruments to Buy National Semiconductor, chip stocks are up after Texas Instruments' $6.5B deal".
Me: “As for mobile payments, it seems like there will be a fight between NFC, QR and Bluetooth. And yes, many security issues.”
Vajda: "The NFC technology introduced in the device may be vulnerable for eavesdropping, data modification, relay attack and when the mobile is lost. However, the NFC chip inside this phone is read-only and payments typically require two-way communication.
• NFC vulnerable to security issues, which in turn could lead to software failures or leave it exposed to malware attacks.
• NFC payment, here is a lack of standards (in Europe)
• Mobiles have only recently started to see exploitation by hackers, but the advent of NFC payments and the use of mobiles as credit or debit cards is likely to excite the attention of hackers to a much greater degree.
• Why do people rob banks? Because that’s where the money is. Hackers has invented ways to detect the majority of the defects in code that could render an NFC vulnerable to security issues, which in turn could lead to software failures or leave it exposed to malware attacks. They track data and financial transactions.
• It will eventually cause a high profile incident that will cause a lot of people to be worried. Will then have to regain customer NFC trust, long, long times...
• It’s a calculated gamble about whether to be first to market, where you may gain traction and credit, or be cautious and get it right, but be behind the curve.
• Likely we will start to see two camps emerging: those that build the wall higher, so the hackers can’t get in; or those that build the product, as of keeping them out.
Above, unresolved issues for NFC include licensing, security, and how the big players will act to protect their income".
Joesph Vajda explains the situation well. There's really a lot of things in mobile commerce that have to get resolved for NFC to be the open-standard. For banks and retailers and what not, I would say Low Energy Bluetooth could be a promising competitior to NFC.
So much for the crazy hype surrounding near-field communication in the last few months in the mobile payments arena?