Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trusted Services Manager (TSM): Does somebody have an edge

Gridlock in the NFC ecosystem is about the telco/MNO (e.g., Verizon) and the issuer/bank (e.g., BofA) jostling for control over 'their' customer. On the mobile device, the two verticals (telco and banks) clash. Until the control issue is resolved, NFC deployments will not make progress past the many well-publicized trials. Trusted Service Managers (TSMs) are seen as a way past this impasse. Much has already been written about this issue.

The usual suspects in any TSM discussion are Cassis, Venyon and Vivotech (in alphabetical order). There are others in this space as well. The question for today is, is there any one vendor or approach that has an obvious edge, and why?

Cassis comes from a SIM / OTA background, with a lot of their management coming from Gemalto and the like. Venyon is a JV between Nokia and G&D. Vivotech seems to have a more POS / retail merchant proclivity given their presence in the contactless reader space. From this 50K foot view of the landscape, there seem to be at least two approaches to address this space. One is to approach this from the mobile operator space. Given Cassis's and Venyon's background, they seem to be establishing the telcos as their beachhead. Given Vivotech's background and investors, acquiring banks (POS vendors) and retail merchants seems to be Vivotech's beachhead. It appears that the above divide seems to be extending into the TSM space as well.

In deployments where the telco drives the business case, folks like Venyon and Cassis might win the day. In deployments where the acquirers/merchants are pushing the business case, folks like Vivotech might win the day.

Not withstanding a simplistic two variable view of the world, what are your thoughts? Are there any other factors that will influence the TSM space? Which other vendor/industry might enter the TSM space?

Related Post: When selling shovels is more lucrative: Another look at TSMs 1 year later

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