Gemalto NV is offering a network connection hub to provide banks, equipment manufacturers and mobile wallet providers with secure access to Near Field Communication hardware.

The Allynis Trusted Services Hub will operate as a "turnkey business service" enabling those in the payments and financial chains to deploy mobile payment services through a single connection, the Amsterdam-based smartcard and digital security technology provider says.

The hub essentially gives clients immediate access to NFC smartphones already equipped with secure elements and Gemalto's trusted services management platforms, which has more than 100 million multi-tenant SIM cards in place to secure application credentials.

"With the hub concept, we wanted to implement a set of servers connecting the banks and manufacturers with the secure element in the device, and on the other side, service providers, banks and others bringing services onto a mobile phone," said Jean-Claude Deturche, senior vice president of mobile financial services at Gemalto.

Gemalto is not trying to "reinvent the wheel" with its new hub, Deturche said. Rather, the security company is seeking ways to accelerate mobile payment connectivity in light of recent developments with the Merchant Customer Exchange and Apple's expected mobile wallet announcement.

"We want to shorten the time to market for stakeholders and lessen the cost of ownership for them," Deturche said. "We want it fast and easy."

In the past, Gemalto established security for clients through one-on-one sessions, providing the management of chip-based smartcards or secure elements on phones.

"The one-on-one fashion has been great with our clients, but if you wanted scale, it was a slow and cumbersome process [to establish connections with multiple tenants]," Deturche said. "The hub gets payment connectivity into mobile much faster."

The hub will handle all configurations, including embedded secure elements and trusted execution environment apps inside next-generation mobile devices, Deturche said. "Clients just connect to the hub to access all platforms."

Gemalto concentrates on devices that use a secure element for storing payment card credentials, including digital versions of EMV smartcards. It also supports tokenization.

But the development of host card emulation, a technology that can enable Near Field Communication without accessing the secure element, could change the payment landscape over time.

Currently, most mobile wallets are secure-element centric, Deturche said. "There are no security threats with it and we believe it is an effective method that is live and scaled," he added. "Things don't change overnight, and it would be more of a natural evolution with HCE."

The SIMalliance, a SIM card organization, has said there is a place in mobile payment advancement for both HCE and secure elements in handsets, saying both will accelerate NFC payments growth.

Gemalto also continues to develop security services to address current needs. Last month, Gemalto agreed to buy data-protection company SafeNet Inc. for $890 million in cash, a move the company said would help it develop products to thwart the types of major hacking events taking place with large retailers.

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