GlobalPlatform Specification Supports Service Provider Integration into the NFC Ecosystem


GlobalPlatform, the organization that standardizes the management of applications on secure chip technology, has advanced its specification for the Management of Mobile NFC Services to specifically address how service providers can connect and communicate with other actors operating within the near-field-communication (NFC) ecosystem.  The specification has been created based on input from industry bodies, including the European Payments Council, GSMA and the Association Française pour le ‘Sans Contact’ Mobile (AFSCM).

First released in 2011, the GlobalPlatform Messaging Specification defines the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders within the NFC landscape. It also outlines the ‘language’ that should be used across all parties to ensure global consistency and clear communication when managing secure applications over-the-air or over-the-internet in a cloud environment. This ‘language’ is technically known as ‘messages’. By using this specification, messages can be exchanged between all actors in an NFC deployment in an interoperable, secure and reliable web services format.

A key update to the specification – version 1.1 – is the precise direction it now offers to service providers such as payment systems or transit operators, on how to securely connect with other actors in the NFC landscape. This includes engagement with trusted third parties such as mobile network operators (MNO), trusted service managers (TSM) or commercial partners to deliver joint mobile services.

“Mobile messages support back-office activities that facilitate the secure deployment – or ‘provisioning’ – of an application to a mobile device,” explains Gil Bernabeu, GlobalPlatform Technical Director. “Mobile messages are also essential for dealing with post deployment events. This could be voluntary – such as an end-user requesting an update to service privileges or changes to personal details, or involuntary – a device is lost or stolen and the services need to be suspended.

“As with all GlobalPlatform Specifications, once the document has been released, we continue to engage and listen to the market to update and refine it. In addition to general industry amends, service providers highlighted requirements to support the mobile wallet and secure services environment that were unique to them. This document focuses on these areas to enable complete integration of the service provider in the NFC environment.”

GlobalPlatform’s work to support TSMs and the communication between other parties in the NFC ecosystem continues to gain momentum. Last year GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, published its ‘Business Process Implementation Guidelines using GlobalPlatform Protocols’, which sets out a framework for MNOs to reach full interoperability with GlobalPlatform protocols. Gil adds: “This is the ultimate aim of our work; to provide a messaging specification that allows individual markets to establish business processes, all based on one industry approved and common messaging framework.

As a next step, GlobalPlatform is currently developing an end-to-end simplified framework that will help NFC stakeholders operating in different markets to deploy services quickly following configurations for secure elements, mobile devices and backend systems relevant to individual sectors. Gil concludes: “We are committed to supporting the development of a sustainable and scalable NFC ecosystem. As part of this we recognize the need to reduce ambiguity and support new players coming into the secure chip landscape such as TSMs. We believe the development of our backend systems and associated end-to-end frameworks will deliver the final piece of the jigsaw to realize our aim.”

GlobalPlatform plans to host a TSM event in Madrid, Spain on 18, June 2013 that will present the GlobalPlatform Specifications to TSMs, with details of how these can be implemented. Further information will be communicated in the coming months.

To learn more about the GlobalPlatform Messaging Specification, read GlobalPlatform’s Made Simple Guide.

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