Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Royal Bank of Scotland, Wifi, CSR and Net Neutrality


The Royal Bank of Scotland is experimenting with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for wifi based credit and debit card verification. An aerial in the card sends the data to a RFID reader at the retail store and payment is then credited to the store.

The cynic in me would believe the credit transfer from bank to retailer might take days not milliseconds - this is, after all, a bank.

This contactless debit card will replace cash for low-value payments with the hopes of moving Scotland to a "cashless society". What a great wizz.

As this will be a great way for the bank to make money I would hope that the RBS Corporate Social Responsibility contribution will be to make wifi free in all participating stores and locations as well.

Or they can go one further to offer city-wide wifi and spread the capability to the disadvantaged location and their often struggling local, often small, shop keepers.

Imagine the brand benefits of being the vendor of free, high capacity broadband to everyone in Glasgow's Gorbals or London's East End.

The French have a different view on Information and Communications Technologies than most. New legislation passed last week could force Apple to make its iPod music player and iTunes Music Store compatible with those from rivals such as Microsoft and Sony. An earlier version of the legislation drew fierce criticism from Apple as "state-sponsored piracy" because it would have required companies to share details of their digital rights management technologies.

The law as passed still demands interoperability except where permission is held by Apple from the rights holders such as musicians and record labels.

This is state imposed disinternmediation of Intellectual Property. Not the first but certainly significant.

It should make AT&T, BT and the other big pipe companies think hard. If the same principle were to apply to net neutrality, they will have a big problem preventing content flowing through their networks without sharing the capacity with everyone..... Such as a Bank wifi networks for example....





Picture: Ken Bushe A Glasgow Street Scene