GlobalPlatform, the international specification body for smart card infrastructure, has released a technical paper that analyzes the implications of managing multiple secure chips in a single mobile handset to deliver near-field-communication (NFC) services.
The document, entitled 'GlobalPlatform's Requirements for NFC Mobile: Management of Multiple Secure Elements', is free to download.
GlobalPlatform's Mobile Task Force undertook research to understand the technological possibilities and challenges of using multiple secure elements - tamper resistant devices with embedded microprocessor chips - in a mobile device. The white paper is the result of this investigation, which identified two different business models, and details the functional requirements needed to support the acknowledged technical architectures:
• Architecture without aggregation. Only one secure element is active and able to perform a contactless transaction. The end-user is responsible for using the handset interface to select the correct secure element.
• Architecture with aggregation. Any application on any secure element can perform a contactless transaction at any time. The device communicates directly with the secure element to active the required application.
Marc Kekicheff, Vice Chair of GlobalPlatform and leader of the Mobile Task Force, and Senior Business Leader at Visa Inc., comments: "NFC contactless enabled mobile phone handsets are expected to become widely available. They can act as payment cards, transportation tickets, loyalty cards, access control badges and offer many other contactless services. Several pilots are already in progress worldwide but these are typically limited in scope or the number of players involved.
"The GlobalPlatform Mobile Task Force acknowledged that mobile devices can host multiple secure elements. It was eager to share its insight on how NFC services could be deployed using this model and provide a rational for which technical architecture should be supported."
The recently released GlobalPlatform Card Specification v2.2 Amendment C Contactless Services, addresses some of the technical challenges outlined in this document. Further requirements rarements raised in the paper are under analysis by GlobalPlatform's Device Committee.
Mr Kekicheff concludes: "Global standards are a critical success factor to achieve consistency, reliability and interoperability within the NFC ecosystem. GlobalPlatform's Specifications have laid a firm foundation, and we plan to continue our role by enhancing our existing technology portfolio and creating new specifications to support this progressive infrastructure."