RIM Gets Near Field Communication Approval From Visa
Recently, as Research in Motion (RIM) has been gearing up for its huge new operating system and device release, the company received another piece of good news: Visa has approved the company's Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payment program. The move not only reinforces NFC as a major technological wave, but adds to the good news surrounding RIM in recent weeks. For tech managers at midsize businesses who are desperate for strong mobile security solutions, this development could have a major impact on the future of business mobility.
According eWeek, Visa has just approved RIM's Secure Element Manager (SEM) solution. SEM allows for mobile payments on any device equipped with NFC technology, including Android-based smartphones and tablets. This development could pave the way for wireless carriers to offer customers the ability to make mobile payments through banks that work with Visa.
As reported by Computer World, SEM's approval relied on stringent security. RIM built a reputation for security over the past decade, as its BlackBerry smartphones became the standard for businesses and agencies concerned about information security above all else. RIM leveraged that experience into building SEM with the same complete encryption and security management that made the BlackBerry brand famous in the first place.
The service will work with a secure element either embedded within an NFC-capable device or installed in a SIM card, giving carriers a lot of flexibility in how they choose to approach NFC payments. While the Visa approval is a significant step toward widespread NFC adoption, at this time RIM isn't discussing potential customers for the service, leaving some ambiguity as to how long it will take for the effects of this aggrement to reach the markets.
RIM and the Midsize Business
Midsize businesses have always had to delicately balance productivity and security, as their size puts them in a place where sacrificing one for the other would lead to significant problems. That's exactly why BlackBerry devices have always been so popular in this space. BlackBerry provided a huge productivity increase while ensuring that company data was kept as safe as possible, and many midsize businesses continue to use BlackBerry devices to this day.
This fact makes the news about Visa's approval big for two distinct reasons. First, it's a sign that NFC payments, along with other NFC uses, are here to stay. The technology has been somewhat maligned by Apple's refusal to support it in their massively popular iPhone line, but even so the trend toward NFC acceptance has been clear, and this new news only solidifies that point.
Secondly, RIM's new position at the leading edge of the NFC wave could spell great things for the company. While it has a lot invested on the upcoming BlackBerry 10 release, industry observers have often remarked that RIM's solid mobile security infrastructure could be its biggest asset in the coming decade. If RIM can leverage its security experience into expanded business opportunities, it greatly increases the survival chances of the BlackBerry platform, regardless of how the upcoming release goes.
For IT managers at midsize businesses who rely on BlackBerry's solution to mobile productivity and security, news of RIM's overall health couldn't be better received. Many midsize business IT departments have been stuck in limbo as RIM's saga has played out, but a stable BlackBerry brand could allow them to focus on the future instead of their existing mobile solution.
Rim has taken what is likely a step in the right direction with this recent security management approval, and the future for the company may be brighter still.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.