Bluetooth low energy has been included in the majority of smart phones for the past couple of years and is emerging as a complement or even replacement to NFC, WiFi, and bar code technologies.
The Smart Card Alliance has released a white paper detailing some of the application for the emerging identification and payment technology, including venue management, event management, retail customer relationship management, food services, transportation, payment, access control, and facilities management.
The white paper was developed to provide an educational resource on Bluetooth low energy, describing what it is, how it’s used, how it fits with other mobile technologies and what security aspects should be considered for BLE-enabled applications. The white paper:
- Defines BLE, including the features that can benefit businesses and consumers
- Explores the origins of BLE’s development, the BLE design principles, and the applications to which it can respond
- Discusses BLE in the context of possible applications for, but not limited to, venue management, event management, retail customer relationship management, food services, transportation, and payment
- Details use cases that illustrate category-specific issues and stimulate thought on how to overcome constraints and explore new applications
- Compares BLE with similar technologies, such as WiFi, GPS, NFC, and QR codes; the comparison identifies BLE’s advantages and disadvantages and discusses how technologies may complement each other to enrich the application experience
- Discusses security as it relates to BLE’s use for payments, mobile marketing, and mobile commerce.
Consumer education will be key with Bluetooth low energy applications. The nature of the technology with its long distance pairing creates opportunities for tracking of individuals, eavesdropping on transactions, spoofing of beacons, and monitoring of behavior.
Consumers will need to be educated about the characteristics of these technologies and the implications of their opt-in choices. App developers will have to be vigilant in applying security strategies and technologies appropriate to their applications.
As security concerns are addressed, Bluetooth may become a common and trusted transport layer for mobile marketing, mobile services, and, potentially, mobile payment. It is likely to grow initially as a complement to current technologies, as business concerns and related applications deal with evolving security practices and current merchant infrastructure and systems. Similarly, as the trust in BLE grows, the market will likely witness further expansion in access control and other applications.