Struggling RIM gets a shot in the arm from a new NFC payment effort here in Canada.
While RIM’s BlackBerry devices aren’t the hot commodities they once were, the Waterloo, Ontario company still has a strong reputation when it comes to security. And because it has shown time and again that it has what it takes to deliver secure systems and services, EnStream LP has chosen RIM’s Secure Element Manager to power a new NFC (Near-Field Communication) payment initiative here in Canada. The three companies who formed EnStream — Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless, and Telus — also have longstanding relationships with RIM.
If you’ve been waiting for some good RIM-related news to hit the tickers, this might just be it. Forget about the fact that BlackBerry 10 software and devices were pushed back until February of 2013. Forget about the lackluster launch of the 4G PlayBook. This new deal with EnStream is huge for RIM.
It’s important financially, obviously, since the deal should yield a good deal of additional licensing income for RIM. But it’s also important as a show of faith from three major Canadian businesses.
NFC payments are going to be huge. Industry analysts have estimated that there will be around $50 billion worth of NFC-powered transactions taking place globally within just two years, with about half those being processed in North America and Europe. With an estimated 5 million NFC phones in Canada by 2013 and 60 million more withing five years, it’s clear that the payment revolution is coming — and quickly. It’s incredibly significant, then, that EnStream has chosen to utilize RIM’s technology for its NFC payment system.
Does this mean you’ll need to own a BlackBerry in order to use EnStream’s payment system? Not at all. Secure Element Manager can be embedded on a smartphone or tablet, but it can also be shipped on a SIM card. You may need to upgrade to an EnStream-ready SIM, but you should be good to go as long as your smartphone has the payment app installed.
Could this mark the beginning of the turnaround for RIM? Time will tell, but if big business is in the company’s corner and there are some truly amazing phones coming early next year, 2013 could prove to be a very exciting year for the crew in Waterloo.