Agile Apple Pay – P2P Is Coming

Before Agile methodology surfaced, waterfall methodology was used for software development; after requirements were collected, the software was designed, developed, tested, deployed and maintained. This process could take a long time if the project had a large scope. Sometimes, the product might not be delivered on time or delivered but did not meet the needs of the customer.

An example would be the Softcard mobile wallet (formally named ISIS); a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon with billions in investments. Since its launch in November 2013, consumers didn’t adapt the product. It was finally shutdown in 2015 after Google purchased some of its IP. The technology (Near Field Communication) has great potential; yet, most of the consumers didn’t even know their mobile phones were NFC enabled.

Agile, a very different approach, works at a sustainable pace to develop minimal software with minimal functionality and a shorter development cycle. With shared responsibilities between the product owner, scrum master and development team, each development cycle delivers a work release.

Using mobile payment as an example, I think Apple Pay was implemented with an Agile approach. When the whole NFC world was waiting for an NFC wallet to be delivered on iPhone 5s and 5c (released in 2013) and it didn’t happen. Instead, iPhone 5s enabled Touch ID; a fingerprint authentication mechanism. Not until the iPhone 6 release in 2014, NFC payment came through with Apple Pay using Touch ID to provide a “single touch to pay” user experience. This year, Apple Watch enables Apple Pay for iPhone 5, 5s and 5c.

It might not be fair to compare Softcard and Apple Pay development since Apple owns its devices and can pace their software/hardware features/functionalities in a more integrated approach while Telecoms didn’t have this ability.

Now, what is next for Apple Pay? Apple was just granted a patent for peer to peer (p2p) mobile payment today. The Patent states that NFC and Bluetooth can be used for one device sending a payment to another device securely and at no cost.  This is another effort to enable quick communication between devices in order to move into the world of IoT (Internet of Things).

So shall we conclude that Apple Pay is an Agile product? Love to hear your thoughts.


Apple and NFC

If you purchase a song from iTunes, you decide to give it to your friend as a gift, Apple will provide a method to deliver the gift using Near Field Communication (NFC)!

Surprised? Apple doesn’t offer NFC, at least not yet.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent application on August 15th.  The patent was titled “Media gifting devices and methods,” It specified how iOS device users purchase and consume digital content with the NFC transaction. See details here.

On September 6th, Apple filed for a European patent about devices with fingerprint scanner and NFC. See details posted by Patently Apple. The European patent application is derived from a U.S. patent application filed in September 5th and titled “Electronic Device with Shared near Field Communications and Sensor Structures”. It described a dual mode operation as follows “When operated in a sensor mode, the sensor circuitry may use the conductive structure to gather a fingerprint or other sensor data. When operated in near field communications mode, the near field communications circuitry can use the conductive structure to transmit and receive capacitively coupled or inductively coupled near field communications signals.” (see picture attached)

This is not the first time that Apple has filed for a patent based on NFC technology. What does this tell you about Apple and NFC? I expect that NFC will continue to expand with or without Apple’s participation. And Apple’s participation is very likely to surprise everyone.


Apple’s NFC Patent

A patent was issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office to Apple on June 4th, 2013.  The patent “System and method for simplified data transfer” was filed on June 8th, 2008.

Near Field Communication was in the summary of the patent as follows:
“A method of performing the simplified data transfer may include initiating communication using near field communication (NFC) between two devices. Next, data associated with open applications on one of the two devices may be saved and then transferred to the other. Transferring the data may take place using a peer-to-peer connection other than via NFC. “

In the current market, many newer mobile phones have NFC capability. Koichi Tagawa, NFC Forum chairman, presented The Worldview of NFC to the NFC Solutions Summit last month. He pointed out that the fast moving tablet segment is adopting NFC. ABI Research expects that 285 million NFC enabled devices will be shipped in 2013 [1].

Interestingly enough, since so many mobile devices that have NFC capability are in the market, Apple has not yet indicated their intention to adopt NFC into its lineup. The patent for NFC simplified data transfer gives Apple an incredible competitive advantage when they adopt the NFC technology and mobile apps are being developed.

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