Inside Secure, a French semiconductor manufacturer specializing in solutions for secure mobile transactions, announced Wednesday it will be providing Intel with its near field communication (NFC) products as part of the two company’s recently signed technology transfer agreement.
The agreement provides Intel with access to Inside Secure’s software, firmware and core hardware technology for development of future Intel products. Intel’s Mobile Wireless Group will also be able to access scalable NFC solutions based on Inside Secure’s MicroRead, SecuRead and Open NFC products.
NFC is a standards-based, short-range wireless technology that requires a distance of four centimeters or less to initiate a connection between devices. It also allows smartphone users to securely share information by simply tapping their phones against another NFC-enabled device. Smartphone vendors are becoming increasingly interested in NFC’s ability to securely perform contactless transactions, especially financial transactions and payments. NFC, for example, is the driving force behind Google’s new Google Wallet product, which allows Android users to simply tap their phone upon check-out at any participating location to transmit credit card information.
Inside Secure said that its agreement with Intel marks a significant milestone for both the company and the future of the NFC industry, as it will help nudge the emerging technology towards full-scale market adoption.
"We are very excited to have this opportunity to work alongside Intel in the development of scalable NFC solutions for the industry,” said Charles Walton, chief operating officer for Inside Secure, in a statement. "Working with an industry leader like Intel will play a significant role in the mainstream rollout of NFC."
Intel’s interest in Inside Secure and its NFC technologies doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Earlier this month, the Silicon Valley chip giant was given a seat on the board of directors for the NFC Forum, a 150-member organization dedicated to the advancement of NFC solutions. Founded in 2004, the Forum aims to teach consumers and industry leaders the value of NFC in mobile devices and PCs. Before joining the board of directors and becoming a sponsor of the organization, Intel participated as a principal member.
"NFC is gaining traction in many markets as one of the most convenient ways to use consumer electronic devices for payments and retail commerce transactions, for access to facilities and information, and a host of other applications,"said Aicha Evans, vice-president and general manager of Intel's Mobile Wireless Group, in a statement. "We look forward to working with INSIDE to develop and bring to market a range of exciting connectivity solutions for mainstream consumer products that incorporate NFC features."
Intel spokesperson Agnes Kwan declined to comment on which Intel products or platforms, specifically, would incorporate NFC technologies down the line. She also could not specify how long the agreement with Inside Secure was slated to last, and mentioned that it’s "too early to tell" how Intel’s adoption of NFC may play out in the channel.
She did note, however, that Intel is taking a great interest in the "new usage models" enabled by NFC technologies, and plans to maintain a close to watch over the NFC ecosystem.