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TELECOM & INTERNET | Tony Chua, Singapore
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Institute of Microelectronics, Watchdata Technologies sealed research collaboration

Partnership forged to develop on mobile payment solutions by upgrading Near Field Communication model.

The Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and Watchdata Technologies Pte. Ltd., a pioneer in data security and smart card technology solutions, on Wednesday announced their partnership to develop on mobile payment solutions, according to an A*STAR report.

Mobile phones have gained an increased importance in the sector of Information and Communication technologies for development in the 2000s. The options to purchase goods and services over the internet are now made available on mobile phones. Mobile payment is a new and rapidly-adopting alternative payment method. Consumers can now pay for their transactions of goods and services with their mobile phones without the use of cash or payment cards.

Near Field Communication (NFC) is one of the primary models for mobile payments. It consists of a NFC component, an antenna and the secure element (SIM card) where host applications (e.g. payment application) are stored. The current solution is restricted to specific mobile phones and cannot be widely adopted. Recognising this limitation, IME and Watchdata work together for a unified solution.

The research development will leverage on IME’s innovative ASIC solution and Watchdata’s expertise in system implementation to develop a contactless ASIC for use in SIM card along with SIM IC and microcontroller for contactless payment application. This solution can be implemented and universally used in any mobile phone. Users will be able to use his or her mobile phone to launch contactless applications in order to perform a payment. Through the contact interface, the SIM acts as a standard SIM card to execute subscriber’s identity authentication to the mobile phone.

The contactless feature can be used for services such as transportation, movie ticketing, mobile banking, access control and even retail outlets.

Said Professor Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Director of IME, “The NFC-based contactless technology that IME is co-developing with Watchdata will provide a major breakthrough in the mobile payments market because of the convenience it offers to the industry and consumers. This development is set to be an extension of existing options available in the mobile payments market which is expected to soar to $630 billion in value by 2014.”

Michael Yu, President of Watchdata International Business Operations, said: “The collaboration with IME is a clear indication that Watchdata is committed in providing innovative mobile payment solution that will enable the mobile phone to become a powerful payment device. This also brings us one step closer in providing an interoperable platform that bridges multiple sectors. Ultimately, consumers can look forward to do banking, transit, retail payment and mobile telecom transactions via their mobile phone.”

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