At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014, McKinsey estimated the worldwide cost of cyber-crime to amount to up to three trillion US dollars by 2020. In addition to industrial espionage, this also includes data theft and abuse. Cyber-security experts in companies are particularly troubled by the increasing quality and quantity of cyber attacks. Even large corporations face a wide range of different risks. The Ponemon study “2013 cost of cyber crime” for the German market, for example, reports 1.3 successful attacks per week in each of the surveyed companies.
In addition to defence against possible attacks from the internet, perpetrators and negligent users within the company are a culpable threat. Various studies suggest that approximately 15 to 25 percent of the attacks are launched by insiders. Traditional security tools like firewalls or virus scanners are useless in protecting against this. Defending against internet crime therefore also includes comprehensive analysis of internal risks and monitoring the integrity of critical data and systems.
Near Field Communication (NFC) represents a big step in the evolution of mobile payment. The financial and credit industry in particular has been introducing new NFC products to the market for quite some time now. They are based on a transmission standard, which is used for communication within ten centimetres. As opposed to technologies like Bluetooth, NFC requires no user entry for data exchange because simple proximity to another NFC receiver is seen as user confirmation. The technology is already integrated in many mobile phones. Other phones can simply be upgraded by attaching an NFC sticker to the back. Credit cards, bank cards and customer cards can also include this feature. Cards equipped with NFC include an RFID chip, which actively communicates on an ongoing basis using a small antennae integrated in the card. As soon as a receiver is within range, it can access the transmitted information.
The idea of using smartphones for payment processes is logical. After all, 65 percent of German internet users carry one of these devices around with them. And at least in theory these devices can greatly simplify, accelerate and automate payment processes.
Thus experts have been forecasting a big breakthrough in mobile payment for over ten years now. And 2014 is no exception. The market is on the move and expected sales are high. In Europe alone, the volume is expected to be around 75 billion euro. According to the U.S. market research firm Gartner, about a half a billion users are expected to transfer approximately three-quarters of a trillion dollars using mobile devices in 2017. The hope is that once the initial hurdle has been overcome, mobile payment move away from being hype and become a true a competitive advantage. Once this has taken place, it will be self-perpetuating.
When it comes to installing electronic business processes, most small to medium-sized companies neither have their own IT departments to call in for assistance nor, generally speaking, do their funds run to commissioning external IT service providers. Thus, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie – BMWi) supports companies wanting to introduce modern information and communication technologies in an intelligent way with ‘Mittelstand Digital’, an initiative for digitalisation in small to medium-sized companies.
The BMWi will present this nationwide initiative at M-Days, Germany’s biggest trade fair for the mobile business in Frankfurt am Main on 13 and 14 May. At the ‘Mittelstand Digital’ lecture area, there will be four specialist forums on the subjects of ‘M-commerce’, ‘Mobile business processes in the installation trade’, ‘Mobile Industry 4.0 – applications for small to medium-sized companies’ and ‘Usability of mobile information and communication applications’.