What an NFC world looks like to ISISRumor
Posted by Seth PlanckJune 12th, 2011 at 4:21 PM Filed Under Latest News, Videos
What the NFC world looks like to ISIS
ISIS is a joint venture formed by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile focused on creating a unified digital wallet that’s compatible across three out of the four US carrier networks. ISIS has the goals of integrating contactless payments and coupons on your phone. At this time ISIS is just a concept in the marketplace, but with three very powerful companies behind it could become a very influential player within the next couple of years.
The ISIS NFC vision
The ISIS vision has changed a lot. The original thought was to provide the funding behind NFC payments but with the advent of Visa payWave, MasterCard PayPass and Google Wallet which used with a hybrid PayPass system, ISIS decided the space would be dominated by too many big players and cost too much for it to invest in, so that was scrapped. Next, ISIS decided it would charge banks, processors and retailers for the use of transactions over their networks, but Sprint set the bar by publicly stating at the Google Wallet launch event that it would not charge for this service. At this time it is still unclear whether the networks would attempt to charge for this service, but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense at this point with Sprint “the come back kid” embracing a more open approach. Strike one for the consumer, who would no doubt end up footing the bill somehow, somewhere.
From the ISIS website “For the first time, three of the largest U.S. wireless service providers — AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless — have united to build a nationwide mobile commerce network utilizing smartphone and near-field communication (NFC) technology. By bringing together merchants and consumers, the Isis mobile commerce network will provide an enhanced, more convenient, and more personal shopping experience.”
What is ISIS now and what will it do for NFC?
What ISIS is now is a somewhat cloudy affair. To say it has flip flopped is an understatement, and without knowing its plans it is hard to know whether it is a get rich scheme by most of the big carriers or is a true benefit to consumers. Below is an ad that ISIS has had commissioned, but even it appears to lack direction of what ISIS represents apart from the usual use cases visualized that were set forth by the NFC Forum. At the recent D9 conference AT&T CEO of Mobility, Ralph de la Vega, said that AT&T were excited by the ISIS joint venture and its ability to unite different networks and financial approaches but stopped short of defining the project further. We here at NFC Rumors feel ISIS currently has a little identity crisis and needs to set out a defined plan of action so we can all get behind it. At the end of the day, we want three out of our four major carriers to support NFC up-to the hilt and do it in a way that benefits and not penalizes consumers. We also need to understand whether ISIS intends to use sim cards in NFC phones that are locked per network for NFC capabilities.
ISIS vs Google for NFC payment supremacy?
At this time the ideals and ideas of what the NFC digital wallet will look like are polar opposite between ISIS and Google. Google is approaching contactless payments with an open environment approach and ISIS, from what we know at this point, are looking to monetize the opportunity. Of course Google is monetizing too, but it has chosen local ads as its vehicle for profit instead of charging for transactions. So could this be a fight to the death? Probably not, again at the D9 conference Ralph de la Vega stated that ISIS is in talks with Google to make the two services compatible with each other which may suggest ISIS is coming to the realization that supporting NFC with an open policy will ultimately spawn more opportunities and will certainly bring more good will. We wait with baited breath to see what Google has to say about this proposed play nice scheme. Apple is as of yet to show us what it has in mind for NFC, so the industry could be fractured anyway. With so much money at stake we expect to see a very competitive space and some good old fashioned show downs between some of our favorite tech titans and carriers.
ISIS is trialling in 2012 on the Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake City, so we know whatever ISIS has planned it is not going to be in the marketplace imminently. ISIS has appointed Michael Abbott its Chief Executive, who brings a plethora of experience in setting up financial networks with GE Capital and working with credit card services with FleetBoston where he launched a series of successful new card products.