Feeds

Nokia patents touch-tastic NFC operator leapfrog

Rub your equipment against things you like

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A US patent from Nokia shows how a handset manufacturer can make money from NFC, without being forced into a relationship with the banks or even the network operators.

The idea, explained in detail over at NFC World, is to forget about proximity payments and tap-to-pair networking. The suggestion is to concentrate on facilitating punters buying stuff by tapping on a tag rather than selecting from an on-screen list - or at least to own the patent on process.

That patent - filed in February last year and published last month, but has not yet awarded - describes how a mobile phone can be tapped against a tag to buy a product or sign up to a service, with a payment gateway collecting the money and an activation server to control delivery of the service.

It's the latter two steps which are new - N-Mark, the standard for Near Field Communications, already has a standard for reading a URL which could point to a sign-up page. Nokia's patent suggests the tap triggers a request to a store front which responds asking for a confirmation, so the user has to say yes too. The store front then contacts the billing system and (once the money has cleared) the activation service.

The billing system could be linked to the network operator directly, but could equally well use premium-rate messaging. This wouldn't require integration with the operators' billing systems and puts the whole mechanism in the handset manufacturer's hands.

Imagine seeing a poster for a new single - you tap your iPhone against the poster and get a message from iTunes asking you to confirm, with the music delivered once you have done so. That's basically what Nokia's patent covers, which poses questions about obviousness and prior art that will no doubt keep the patent attorneys in business for a while.

The service could go further: one can imagine getting junk mail for a TV channel and subscribing to that channel by tapping one's phone against the envelope, or signing up to a printing service by tapping an advert that came in the box with a new digital camera.

Nokia's patent (pdf) provides lots of details showing how the billing service and activation manager keeps track of all this stuff, but we're not qualified to judge how valid that makes this patent. Still, it's certain that Apple will be planning something along these lines for its own NFC deployment - perhaps that's rather the point. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.