U-SAM Chip Supports NFC, FeliCa 2.0 Security Protocols

In Japan, Sony’s FeliCa contactless payment technology is well established and used in transit ticketing and access applications. FeliCa is often seen as a proprietary precursor to standards-based near field communication (NFC) systems, but its very presence may have acted to impede NFC’s progress in the Japanese market. Now a joint initiative by Sony and NXP Semiconductors aims to provide a path for both technologies to coexist and grow.

The new, interoperable chipset, dubbed U-SAM (Universal Secure Access Module) will support multiple security protocols within the NFC and the FeliCa 2.0 environments. But its benefits may not be felt for some time, according to a new research brief from ABI Research.

“The story of U-SAM, FeliCa, and NFC can be summed up by four Ps,” says research director Michael Liard: “Patience, progress, potential, and partnership. Patience, because the positive effects of dual infrastructure support on NFC adoption won’t be felt overnight. Indeed, there will have to be clear NFC business models for Japanese service providers to adopt it widely. Progress, because the U-SAM project should reduce the drag of dual infrastructures. Potential, because if this collaborative innovation works, Japanese consumers will enjoy many useful new contactless applications using their mobile phones. And partnership, because it is encouraging that Sony and NXP are addressing the problem together to support and enable a whole new market.”

“ABI Research believes that the short-term opportunity created by the U-SAM project is not significant,” adds ABI Research senior analyst Andy Bae. “But the mid- to long-term potential is very considerable, and Japan may become a proving-ground for NFC technology that could enable multiple applications via the mobile phone, applications ranging from ‘smart posters’ to multimedia transfers between consumer electronics devices.”

The Transition from FeliCa to Near Field Communication (NFC) in Japan” is designed to provide readers with a high level understanding of how FeliCa and applications in Japan are evolving, including the FeliCa 2.0 chipset. It analyzes the current market landscape, and assesses the outlook for FeliCa and NFC evolution.

This research brief forms part of two ABI Research Services, RFID, and Mobile and Contactless Commerce, which also include other Research Briefs, full-length Research Reports, Market Data, ABI Insights, the ABI Vendor Matrix, and analyst inquiry support.

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