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October 2015


    Until a few years ago, customers were required to visit the bank to conduct any financial transaction. Banking, on the whole, was considered time consuming and inconvenient. Today, a number of convenient options have been introduced, of which, mobile money has emerged as the most popular and viable method.

    Nevertheless, despite this significant uptake, a number of challenges, particularly pertaining to security, remain. To counter the same, the following steps can be taken:

    Keep a track of the mobile device

    Today, a customer typically uses their mobile handset to store all kinds of information. To safeguard the same, a customer can avail of basic security measures, such as locking the device with a PIN or a pattern.

    Avoid downloading content indiscriminately

    Any application downloaded on a mobile device must be developed by a verified and authentic developer.

    Use applications developed by the bank one has an account in

    Before installing any bank’s application, one must make sure that it has been sanctioned by the bank and is not a fake one.

    Avoid banking while using public internet networks

    A customer ought to avoid banking transactions while using the Wi-Fi network at public places.

    Avoid accessing email or text-based links

    The customer ought to avoid clicking on links enclosed in communications through email and text messages. These links may direct the customer to a “spoofed” website. In case the customer uses their login credentials on the same, their details are redirected to a third party. To avoid the same, the customer ought to bookmark their bank’s web address on your mobile device.

    Security technologies in use today

    Today, biometric technologies are making their presence felt in the domain of financial solutions. Unlike other authentication platforms, biometric technology provides a strong link between an individual and a claimed identity.

    The latest and upcoming biometric security technologies broadly include:

    Fingerprint Scanner– Apple’s Touch ID, a fingerprint authentication technology has already made its way into day-to-day consumer banking. Applications have also been developed for integrating the fingerprint scanning feature on Samsung devices. Moreover, the highly anticipated Android M (Marshmallow) will also include this feature.

    Eyeprint ID-is a technology ensuring mobile security. Unlike iris scanning, Eyeprint ID uses the smartphone’s camera for scanning the unique map of one eye’s blood vessels in the whites. Using the eye scanning application may prove to be quite feasible for the banks as it provides multi-factor authentication to mobile banking.

    Voice Assistance– Using voice recognition for logging onto mobile banking applications is an efficient way to ensure security. Voice print authentication seems to be extremely promising. It permits the user to successfully login 95 per cent of the time. It benefits the banks with the promise that it will improve security and simplify usability with time.

    October 29, 2015 0 comment
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    BLE ensuring high safety with low energy?

    Despite Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) gaining ground, the technology has its share of challenges, especially pertaining to security. In this context, examining the evolution of BLE and the challenges it faces becomes vital.

    What is BLE?

    BLE, or Bluetooth Low Energy, is a wireless personal area network technology, targeted at novel applications in the segment of beacons, healthcare, fitness, security etc. Compared to the classic Bluetooth, it intends to offer considerably reduced cost and power consumption while maintaining a similar communication range.

    Market penetration of BLE

    Brands and retailers are focusing on beacons and conducting tests for BLE-based applications. Today, the market is flooded with a growing number of BLE devices. To illustrate, roughly more than a billion BLE enabled devices were shipped last year and the figure is estimated to reach 19 billion over the next five years. While Bluetooth penetration is close to 90 per cent in all mobile devices and the integration of BLE is at the initiation stage; it is still expected to get replaced by BLE.

    Concerns pertaining to BLE Security

    The security concerns associated with BLE include:

    • Snooping of traffic
    • Hard encoded password or weak credentials
    • Password attacks from brute force

    In order to ensure that one’s BLE connects and operate securely, the two devices must be paired first. Following the encryption of the connection, keys are shared that are later on used for encryption and message authentication.

    The procedure for connecting any two devices is different than that for the two already paired devices. The new connections require searching and retrieving the link key on both the ends. While Bluetooth Low Energy connection includes security features, within the pairing process there is a notable flaw by default. Specifically while pairing, the initial pairing request is sent out encrypted. Thus, one must always remember while designing his implementation that these packets won’t be protected and the same may result as a threat vector for his developed application.

    October 28, 2015 0 comment
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    Addressing security-related concerns in a BYOD era

    The concept of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) has gained traction over the past few years. BYOD can be defined as using employee-owned mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to access business enterprise content or networks.

    Needless to say, a number of enterprises have jumped onto the BYOD bandwagon, fuelled by the various benefits it offers. According to industry analysts, an effective BYOD strategy can lead to a number of benefits for enterprises, including enhanced employee job satisfaction, increased job efficiency and flexibility. BYOD can also provide cost savings from initial device purchase to on-going usage and IT helpdesk support as employees invest in their own devices. From a larger perspective, it can even result in higher recruiting acceptance rates.

    BYOD and security

    However, permitting employees to use their own, personal devices to access their company’s (often) confidential data gives rise to several issues. According to Ernst & Young, BYOD significantly impacts a company’s traditional security model of protecting the perimeter of the IT organization by blurring the definition of that perimeter, both in terms of physical location and in asset ownership. In this context, therefore, it becomes imperative for an organization to “define” certain guidelines and security measures to strike a balance between an employee’s requirements and their own security-related issues.

    Identifying the BYOD security risk

    According to Ernst & Young, the issues pertaining to the deployment of BYOD can be classified under three heads:

    • The enterprise’s risk profile: This essentially entails examining how the enterprise defines potential “risks”. This in turn helps define the policies the enterprise would deploy to counter the same.
    • How the mobile device is being used: The enterprise ought to examine how the data is being used, what functions it serves. Needless to say, the more critical the function, the greater number of controls on the device.
    • Where the devices are being used: Typically, the security threats are greater when the device is being used internationally. This is not merely owing to “where” the devices are being used, but also due to often unclear and regionally applicable legislation in certain geographic areas.


    Measures to counter potential BYOD-related security risks

    Ensuring the mobile devices deployed are secure

    The first step for any enterprise is to chalk out well-defined guidelines pertaining to the usage of mobile devices. This, ideally, ought to be based on an understanding of different user types and a clearly defined set of user segments.

    Broadly, a mobile device can be secured by

    • Implementing a mobile data management policy
    • Establishing a security baseline
    • Introducing stringent authentication and access controls
    • Installing mobile updates
    • Limiting the use of jail-broken devices
    • Enforcing passwords

    Ensuring mobile applications are secure

    Using unsecure mobile applications typically gives rise to two primary security threats-malicious applications and the vulnerabilities of the application itself. In this context, viable counter-measures include:

    • Using mobile anti-virus programmes
    • Assessing the need to implement new applications
    • Managing applications via an in-house application store
    • Blocking unknown third party access to the mobile applications

    Managing the overall mobile ecosystem

    Broadly, implementing a BYOD policy increases the enterprise’s efforts pertaining to maintaining an inventory of the existing mobile devices and keeping the said devices’ operating systems updated. In this context, the following measures can be taken to protect the devices:

    • Identifying an appropriate BYOD policy
    • Implementing a self-service portal or resource for employees

    Net, net, implementing an effective and updated BYOD policy is essential for any enterprise to prepare itself to grapple with any security-related challenges.

    October 28, 2015 0 comment
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    The NFC payments journey started by examining security as a basic requirement. To this end, solutions based on the Secure Element came to the fore, as these solutions offered a very secure NFC payment experience. This, needless to say, surmounted the challenge of provisioning the customer’s payment credentials on the secure element. The different mobile operators and SIM types in the mix, coupled the complex ecosystem of provisioning using TSM all worked against this type of solutions. Both, banks and customers were unhappy.

    Then came the HCE APIs by Android and coupled with tokenization, this solved the problem of depending on the secure element. The relevant payment credentials are dealt with in the software layer. This made the whole ecosystem very simple as the issuers did not have to depend on the MNOs and TSMs.

    What are NFC Payments

    The challenges facing an HCE-centric approach

    Any software based solution is less secure than hardware based solutions, or, at least it is perceived to be. While tokenization of the payment credentials reduces the challenge substantially, areas which can be exploited by hackers still remain. While monetary theft is, of course, a major concern, perhaps a more pressing issue is losing the customer’s confidence.

    The likely solution

    I am of the firm opinion that the “real” solution will emerge once all the options available in the ecosystem have been thoroughly explored. The bottom-line is that the most viable solution is likely to come to the fore only when the mobile network operators and the issuers join hands.

    While we have come full circle, the collaboration between MNOs and issuers needs to be re-examined. Lessons from the past need to be kept in mind, to ensure that the ecosystem we’re dealing with this time is much simpler than the earlier one. So, enter a “hybrid solution”.

    The Hybrid HCE solution

    Simply put, the Hybrid solution leverages the assets under the control of both, the MNO and Issuers. The MNO controls the mobile network, SIM card, mobile connection, technologies for determining the location of the user and historical perspective of the user. The assets controlled by the issuer are the payment credentials, tokenization platforms and ability to generate alternate card number (PAN).

    With this combination, we need to ensure that the payment that is carried out is indeed conducted by the customer themselves. As all the payment tokens are provisioned on the customer’s phone, the idea is to ascertain that the payment has come from that device then we can ensure it is that customers. Here, the generation and provision of payment tokens can be done by the issuers and MNO can ascertain that the device used is the intended one. There has been lot of discussions on the issuer and tokenization side so I shall skip that part in this article. I will cover different mechanism that the MNOs can use for checking the device:

    1. Using the SIM as for deciphering the token – when a customer gets on-boarded to the wallet, we can provision a unique algorithm on the SIM for that user. All the tokens that are provisioned by the server will use the same algorithm to encrypt the token and the SIM shall decrypt it. This way the token can only be used in the phone which has that particular SIM which was used for registering the customer. While one may argue that the process of one-time provisioning will still need the TSM, we need to see that this is only one time per customer and will not be done for each payment credential or card. This reduces the complexity.
    2. Using Mobile connect – most of the MNOs have invested in mobile connect standards provided by GSMA for identification. This has the advantage that we need not even provision any algorithm to SIM because it is quite likely that the MNO would have done that. Using this solution, the issuer can request the MNO to determine the customer’s identity. We may use this mechanism with certain intelligence built in. For example, this can be leveraged for high value transactions or to detect unusual activity. Mobile connect also has means of taking the user’s PIN. This way, the lost mobile scenario is taken care of as well.
    3. Using the location enabled by the MNO – many MNOs are leveraging location-based services to obtain information about the customer. This could be based on GPS, cell tower location, etc. While a user performs the transaction, we can encode the location of the user in certain user defined fields of the EMV token. The issuer can pass this location to the MNO to validate if the user indeed is at that location.

    There are few more such innovations that are possible, based on the call history, usage pattern, SIM application. I feel that it is important that the issuers and MNOs join hands to find a suitable solution which is simple, secure and more importantly very easy to adopt by the end customer.

    October 27, 2015 0 comment
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    The consumers across the world are steadily relying more on mobile payments rather than dipping or swiping their payment cards. MasterCard has announced support to Host Card Emulation (HCE) in order to ensure secure, remote and contactless payment transactions and thus, several projects are underway to significantly delight the consumers with more mobile payment experience options across the Android device platform. This will in turn increase revenue options for the service providers and the mobile payments scenario will change entirely.

    Initially, a hullabaloo was created in the market-space consisting of banks and other financial institutions with the advent of mobile payments. The arrival of NFC (near field communication) technology for mobile payments was anticipated to be accepted whole heartedly by the users, which would have helped the contactless payment system jump start its journey on a decent note. But, NFC payments were dogged by security concerns.

    Following all this, the Secure Element (SE) – a tamper-proof platform capable of securely hosting applications along with their confidential, cryptographic data in accordance with the security requirements- made its way to the payment space. But, the requirement of changing SIMSs couldn’t let it enjoy acceptance among the consumers.

    Introduction of HCE to mobile payments 

    Host Card Emulation (HCE) is a device technology that enables a phone to perform card emulation on an NFC-enabled device. The device does not have to rely on access to a secure element. It arrived as an alternative option to SE (Secure Element)-based approach for digitizing the user’s card credentials through tokenization into the smart devices. Gradually, the cloud based payments started gaining acceptance and now HCE serves as a foundation for rapid deployment of mobile payment services across the globe. The HCE-integrated approach for mobile payments fastens the deployment process of the contactless mobile payments offerings for the financial solution providers and more importantly for the banks. Resultantly, numerous licenses have embraced the framework in order to ensure thoughtful outlining and a more secure deployment of mobile payments.

    How is Host Card Element (HCE) more secure than Secure Element (SE)?

    Before the HCE support started being offered with mobile payments, the user’s mobile payment credentials were stored inside the secure element on the mobile device. With Host Card Emulation, the SE can be present on the cloud storage. This in turn reduces complexities as well as costs. The technology can help the mobile wallet applications get converted into a virtual smart card. HCE gained more importance by further pushing the payments enabling direct communication between the merchants and the banks without any intermediaries.

    This not only shortened the process but it also made easier for the banks to offer a more cost-effective mobile payment service. Before this concept came into existence, the banks required communicating to the merchants through the mobile service providers and this not only made the process tedious but also it added to the costs. Thus, it will be easier for the banks to launch different contactless payment services.

    October 26, 2015 0 comment
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    At any particular time, a significant fraction of prepaid mobile customers have low or insufficient account balance.  At these times, the mobile service providers are particularly exposed to attrition as their subscribers look around for better deals prior to recharging their account.The mobile operators offer a number of services to help their customer communicate while they have an insufficient balance. These services are collectively referred to as low-balance suite.

    What are the functions of a Low-Balance suite?

    Industry studies show that 10-15 per cent of voice calls fail due to insufficient balance in a prepaid subscriber’s account. This results in loss of revenue for an operator and customer dissatisfaction. For an operator, maximizing revenues from voice traffic and minimizing any potential losses becomes important. To combat this, operators have launched the Low Balance suite. Typically, such offerings support a set of innovative solutions that help operators regain revenues lost due to insufficient credit balance.

    Benefits of low-balance suite for operators

    • Restore revenue leaks
    • Enhanced customer experience, with always-on and seamless connectivity
    • Lower Customer Churn
    • Maintenance of ARPU
    • Increase revenue
    • Customer loyalty

    Any threat can be converted into an opportunity and such an opportunity to reach out the mobile subscribers in order to extend support has been created by the low-balance suites.

    The low-balance suites provide support to the customers and thus they help in building a loyal relationship between the service provider and the user. While there have been made a number of feature additions to the low balance suites, the latest ones also allow a user having a low account balance to reach out and request a call from a contact. And, thus the susceptibility for customer retention by the mobile service operators significantly increases its demand.

    Extending emergency balance credit to the user accounts through the low-balance suites in the emerging markets has pushed the mobile operators towards a glorifying revenue scenario. Not only they have helped ensuring the users stay on the network and remain loyal to the operator but also they have supported the users with insufficient balance keep in touch.

    October 23, 2015 0 comment
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    Traveling is indispensible part of our everyday routine. To meet our daily objectives, we travel miles, be it on an airplane, a train, a tram, a bus or a taxi. The services provided by transport companies are so integrated in our daily lives that we usually take them for granted. Interestingly, they only come to our attention, when we encounter a glitch in the service! Needless to say, technology plays a vital role in ensuring that we don’t face such hurdles in a service which as critical as commuting. Today, technology megatrends such as mobility and internet are being leveraged to the fullest to deliver an optimal travel experience. In case you aren’t convinced, consider these examples-tapping a NFC mobile or a wristband to pay for a train or bus, booking a cab via your mobile, receiving contextual offers in an airport’s shopping lounge via Bluetooth, the list is endless, as is the potential of technology in making a customer’s experience a memorable one. This article examines how transportation companies across the world are leveraging the power of the mobile device to deliver a richer consumer experience.

    “Transportation is the center of the world! It is the glue of our daily lives. When it goes well, we don’t see it. When it goes wrong, it negatively colors our day, makes us feel angry and impotent, curtails our possibilities.” – Robin Chase, CEO, Buzzcar

    Air Travel

    Never before has the consumer been as important as it is today. With globalization and the internet opening up their eyes to the multitudes of possibilities, the consumer is becoming more and more demanding. Keeping this in mind, the airline industry is pulling out all the stops to ensure that they provide customers with a memorable experience every time they fly. To meet the expectations of the tech-savvy generation, airlines are thinking out of box to deliver a digital customer experience. Multiple airlines like Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Air France are working to leverage the potential of the mobile handset and technologies like NFC and BLE to revolutionize the complete air travel experience, from booking a ticket to boarding the flight. Their aim is to enhance the passengers’ convenience and make their journey seamless and enjoyable.

    Ticket booking

    Booking an air ticket is the first step towards simplifying the consumer experience by leveraging mobile technology. Spanish low cost airline Vueling for instance allows a customer to tap a contactless credit card to their NFC phone to populate the card details in the mobile app.

    Airlines based in emerging countries are not far behind. To cash in on the high penetration of mobile money, they have enabled payments through mobile money accounts other than support for cards. Airlines such as Kenya Airways, Proflight Zambia and Kam Air amongst others have partnered with operators such as Airtel, MTN and Roshan to accept mobile money for air ticket booking. To avail this facility, customers book a ticket online and use the booking reference number generated on the website to pay using their mobile money service. The e-ticket is sent to the mobile or via email on successful payment.

    Check-in and boarding

    From the instant that a passenger enters the airport to the time he boards the flight, there are multiple interactions which can be converted to “mobile moments”. Passengers with NFC capable handsets can skip check-in queues by tapping their mobile ticket to self check-in and obtain mobile boarding pass. Similarly, at the boarding gate, passengers have to tap their mobile boarding pass to pass through. Post check-in, useful information such as the relevant gate numbers, time remaining for boarding, directions and navigation to the boarding gate can be disseminated through the mobile app. Self service model are very effective especially for time strapped customers. Japan Airlines (JAL) has been using mobile boarding for more than eight years now and has seen significant time savings by enabling NFC based boarding. It took JAL 15 minutes to board a 450 person plane using NFC as opposed to 40 minutes for a 150 seater boarded using traditional on-boarding process 1.

    Beyond ticketing and on-boarding, airports are also overhauling the conventional shopping and dining experience to a digital experience for tech-savvy customers. At New York’s LaGuardia airport, the food hall is equipped with iPads for browsing menu items and placing orders. Further customers can self-checkout by making a payment with Apple Pay2.

    The privileges for premium customers extend to access of lounges and priority lanes for security check by simply tapping their phones.


    Figure 1: Self-checkout terminal at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

    Image source: www.digitaltrends.com

    In the flight

    The digital experience powered by mobility continues within the flight as well. Passengers are now able to pay for in-flight purchase and seat upgrade via mobile. JetBlue has equipped its flight attendants with iPads that accepts cards as well as Apple Pay.

    Going beyond payments, the Thales group has unveiled an innovative seating concept that enables business class users to choose the seat configuration, entertainment and services directly on their mobile phone prior to boarding. Once in the plane, the passenger places the NFC-enabled device on the seat receptor to activate their saved settings including loading the movie to the last watched point.


    Figure 2: NFC powered in-flight seat from Thales Group

    Image source: www.nfcworld.com

    Train Travel


    As we all know, trains are a country’s lifeline and millions of people use them daily to travel. While more customers equal more revenue, it also creates the challenges around scaling processes for fare collection. To make the process quick and efficient, rail companies are automating the ticketing process by adopting online ticketing, prepaid travel cards and the most recent – mobile ticketing. In many cities, contactless travel cards are used to tap and pay at the turnstile. With growing popularity of mobile payments, rail companies are integrating the travel card with mobile wallet.

    EE largest mobile operator in UK facilitates transport payments via its ‘Cash on Tap’ mobile wallet. This NFC mobile payment service can be used in all major transport systems in London including trains, buses, trams and the tube. Instead of the traditional travel card named Oyster, passengers have to tap their mobile phone on card readers at the source and destination station to make the payment. The mobile wallet has significant tangible benefits for the customer. They do not have to stand in queues to top-up the wallet but can do it using the app anywhere anytime. It also eliminates the problem of card clash – a card clash occurs when the Oyster card and a contactless debit or credit card is placed close together while tapping. The turnstile could not identify which card to debit and often resulted in charging the wrong card. This resulted in a cumbersome process where the customer would have to take out the Oyster card to tap. Interestingly, this has also resulted in thousands of cards being dropped at London stations3.

    Moving beyond the mobile, Barclay’s is offering bPay NFC wristbands for making payments in London Tube and buses. The bands can be recharged online or via a mobile app by any Visa or MasterCard.

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    Figure 3: Passenger using ‘Cash on Tap’ app and bPay band for transport payments in London

    Source: www. engadget.com

    South Korea is another country which is extensively using NFC for transit payments. Millions in South Korea pay their transit fare using two popular mobile prepaid payment systems T-Money and Cashbee4. The mobile wallets can be loaded through vending machines by placing the mobile in the recharge socket and inserting money.


    Figure 4: Passenger recharging T-Money mobile wallet at a vending Machine in South Korea

    Source: www.youtube.com

    NFC can also be used for validating digital tickets stored on mobile apps. An interesting example in this regard is that of Caen in France, where passengers can use the mobile ticketing app Twisto for ticket validation in trams and buses. In the near-future we could also see automatic ticket verification solutions where customers won’t need to remove their smartphones from their pocket! The ‘Future Railway’ in UK (a collaboration between the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and Network Rail) is piloting BLE enabled mobile ticketing app. If the pilot is successful, UK rail passengers could soon be able to get their train tickets verified automatically as they walk through fare gates at a station.

    Mobile is also being used for information dissemination. OBB, Austria’s national rail operator has installed NFC information boards at the stations where passengers can tap their mobile or scan the QR code on the boards to access real-time information about the arrival and departure times of their trains.


    Figure 5: Train passenger in Austria getting real-time information from NFC information board

    Source: www.nfcworld.com, www.tuomi.lu

    In all, there is little doubt that NFC, BLE and QR code based train information and ticketing services are making strides in the developed world.

    Emerging markets, with their lower penetration of smartphones and technologies such as NFC, have found alternate means to enable digital ticketing.

    Bangladesh Railway has partnered with two leading mobile operators in Bangladesh, Grameenphone and Banglalink to offer mobile ticketing. Customers can book intercity train tickets and make payments using the mobile money service offered by the two operators. Considering that the smartphone penetration in Bangladesh is around 5%5, the operators has chosen USSD (a feature available on all GSM phones) as the access channel for booking tickets. However, this did not resolve the issues surrounding low technical literacy. Thus the service was introduced through travel agents who assisted customers by booking the tickets on their mobile handset. 85% to 90%6 transactions are now agent assisted. The customers receive an e-Ticket number via SMS for travel. Other than queue busting at booking centers, the mobile ticketing has lowered the overall operational cost for Bangladesh Railways by reducing cash handling costs and expenses related to paper invoicing.

    In Africa, Camrail has partnered with Orange Money in Cameroon to offer similar mobile ticketing service.

    Road Travel

    Buses, taxis and local transport provide last mile connectivity, reducing the distance between people, markets and services, enhancing overall economic growth. With number of independent bus operators and cab owners, the market is fragmented and aligning all of them with innovations in transportation is a difficult task. However, the rise of the internet and growing penetration of mobile phones is making modernization in public transportation simpler and faster. Today we see many websites that aggregate tickets from various bus operators and sell online as well as mobile apps that connect drivers with passengers in real time.

    The mobile is taking advancements in bus travel a notch ahead. In New Zealand, Snapper Card, a contactless electronic ticketing card has been integrated with NFC mobile wallet Semble. To make bus payments, passengers have to hold their mobile near the Snapper readers at the doors while boarding and de-boarding the bus. The Snapper system uses GPS (Global Positioning System) information to record which stop passenger gets on the bus and where passenger gets off.  This information is used to calculate the correct discounted fare for the journey. Interestingly, passengers can pay for up to 5 people from single snapper card. In Hong Kong also the widely used contactless payment service Octopus have launched mobile payments. They provide Octopus Mobile SIM, which can be inserted into NFC enabled mobile phone to pay fare in city buses.

    One of the most interesting cases of leveraging the mobile is what RATB is doing to make travel more convenient for the differently-abled. In Bucharest Romania, public transport operator RATB is using BLE and beacons for guiding visually impaired passengers on and off buses so that they do not need a personal assistant. RATB buses are fitted with uniquely identified Beacons. The visually impaired passenger provides route information through a mobile application. As the bus approaches, the beacon on the bus sends a notification to the passenger. The notification is delivered with a specific audio signal and the voice-over application on the mobile reads the notification’s text to the user. When the bus arrives at the stop, the Beacon’s buzzer will repeatedly broadcast a beep signal alerting the passenger of its arrival. The beep stops once the said passenger has boarded.


    Figure 6: Beacons being fitted on bus in Bucharest Romania

    Image source: www.nfcworld.com

    In emerging nations as well paying bus fare via the mobile is gaining traction. For short distance travel within the cities, payments mostly happen directly via mobile money accounts during the journey. In Zimbabwe, commuters of local buses known as ‘Kombi’ can pay the bus fare via EcoCash, the most popular mobile money service in the country. The biggest benefit of mobile payments is the relief from having to keep change.

    eManamba, an online company in Kenya allows passengers to enter their travel details and select their seat online to book a bus ticket and pay using their mobile money account. On successful payment, passengers receive a transaction confirmation code via SMS, which they need to enter in the eManamba webpage to receive the ticket by email.

    In just short span of five years mobile app based cab services such as Uber, have completely revolutionized the way we book and pay for cabs. Uber leveraged the mobile to seamlessly connect passengers to drivers.


    A single stop shop, cab apps allows customers to find nearby cabs, view the progress on a map, see an estimated fare, pay and provide feedback at end of journey and earn reward by referring the service to peers. These apps allow payment through multiple digital channels, the most common being cards. In Honduras however, passengers can pay for Easy Taxi via mobile money service Tigo Money.

    Independent cab owners who have not subscribed to the ‘Ubers’ of the world are also getting creative when it comes to accepting payments by using mobile POS allowing their consumers the freedom of choice to pay by card or cash.


    The advent of mobility in transportation is a win-win trend. While for transportation companies, mobility powered solutions have simplified operations and increased productivity, the major beneficiary remains the consumers. Thanks to mobile technology, today consumers are experiencing a faster, convenient and seamless travel experience. But this is just a start. We believe transport companies will keep on exploring applications of mobility in transportation.

    “The reality about transportation is that it’s future-oriented. If we’re planning for what we have, we’re behind the curve.” Anthony Foxx, United States Secretary of Transportation

    1 http://www.asmag.com/showpost/14959.aspx

    2 http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/otgs-techie-food-hall-at-laguardia-airport-is-one-of-first-to-accept-apple-pay/#/5

    3 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/card-clash-making-londoners-panic-5185912

    4 http://www.gsma.com/digitalcommerce/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Korea-Case-Study-Nov-2012-FINAL.pdf

    5 http://www.telenor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/04-Grameenphone-IFA-presentation-FINAL.pdf

    6 Mahindra Comviva internal study

    October 23, 2015 0 comment
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    With the increase of mobile data platforms, the past few years have witnessed an exponential increase in the volume of mobile data traffic. To illustrate, as per The Cisco® Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, globally, mobile data traffic increased by 69 per cent in 2014. As per the report, this figure was a 30-fold increase over the size of the entire global internet in 2000.

    Moreover, in 2014, a typical smartphone generated 37 times more mobile data traffic (819 MB per month) than the typical basic-feature cell phone (which generated only 22 MB per month of mobile data traffic). Going forward, mobile data traffic is expected to continue on this upswing, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57 percent from 2014 to 2019 to reach 24.3 Exabyte per month by 2019. Thus, securing mobile data along with an efficient data traffic management has also become a great concern.

    Data security remains a challenge

    Despite increasing by leaps and bounds, however, a number of challenges remain, especially those pertaining to data security in order to ensure mobile payments security. In fact, an increasing number of companies are permitting employees to use their personal mobile devices for business, which is only compounding the challenge. As per the industry experts, this approach is making sensitive business information — including email and business contacts, customer data and network login credentials — a lot less secure.

    Interestingly, industry experts say that the most incidents of mobile devices including spam and phishing contributing to increased number of security breach issues are usually reported by professionals working for telecommunications and transportation businesses on the enterprise communication platform. Conversely, government-related and healthcare companies typically report the fewest incidents.

    Tips to keep mobile data safe

    Needless to say, securing mobile data along with network security becomes the top priority for any organization. In this context, the following mobile-security-ensuring measures can be taken:

    Choose and activate a password for the device’s home screen- as per industry reports, three in 10 mobile device users do not set any passwords. This makes the device vulnerable to data theft. Therefore, an important step in mobile device security is activating the password feature of any device.

    Install a mobile security application-The security applications available today often include a plethora of features, such as virus protection, remote lock and erase capabilities, lost-phone finders and privacy protection features that can keep data safe.

    Use public Wi-Fi networks with caution-In case a secure connection is unavailable, the customer ought to avoid carrying out financial transactions and not access any websites or corporate resources that require a password.

    Data encryption-Encryption is a reliable method to protect an Android or an iOS device. This feature will present the data in the device in an unreadable format until it is decrypted.

    Deploying MDM/MAM Technology-These are two different technologies typically deployed by organizations to protect data and smart devices. Mobile Device Management (MDM) ensures enterprises gain complete control over the devices, allows specific policies, remotely locks devices, or even wiped data. Mobile Application Management (MAM) helps enterprises create security layers in the device for their own corporate applications and data. It ensures business-centric applications remain untouched.

    Use a firewall-Firewalls assist in blocking dangerous programs, viruses or spyware before they infiltrate an organization’s system. Hardware-based firewalls, like those frequently built into network routers, provide a better level of security.

    Regularly update the existing operating system-This includes repairing the gaps in security which may be used by hackers to access confidential data.

    October 21, 2015 0 comment
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