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Reflecting on the evolution of GlobalPlatform

Nils Gerhardt, Chairman of the Board

As I reflect on the last 12 to 18 months, I have had the privilege of presiding over a period of exciting progress and change for GlobalPlatform. Our 20th anniversary year is set to be a landmark one: specification development continues with remarkable pace, our certification programs are expanding to validate the functionality and security of secure component technologies for new use cases, and we have launched new initiatives that are providing a framework for securing IoT. However, as we continue to work on new opportunities and on helping secure digital services and devices to flourish through standardization, GlobalPlatform, the industries we serve and the world face a great challenge from COVID-19.

I’ll address the impact of the pandemic, and our reaction to it, alongside the broader successes and challenges faced by our organization in this blog. I’m also planning a separate piece on some of the exciting technological activities that are moving along but, for right now, let’s look at some key organizational highlights.

New initiatives

As the organization has built on its work of secure components and devices, in October we unveiled IoTopia, a framework to secure and manage IoT devices, at IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona featuring 4 pillars including secure by design, device intent, secure autonomous network onboarding and lifecycle management. More recently GlobalPlatform announced its support for the Security Evaluation Standard for IoT Platforms (SESIP).

With the rapid growth of the IoT it is only natural that the need for a standardized approach to security would arise. With our track record of successfully driving standardization, certification and effective lifecycle management across markets like telecoms and banking, it is only natural that GlobalPlatform would be the organization to lead initiatives that bring greater trust and assurance to the fragmented IoT security landscape.

It has been great to see the reaction from the knowledgeable analyst and media communities to the value of this work.

Organizational evolution

Our shift in focus to secure all connected devices has also seen the integration of the Industrial and Consumer IoT Task Forces into a single consolidated IoT Task Force to concentrate our IoT discussions under a single umbrella. The integrated Task Force is co-chaired by Oracle’s Sebastian Hans and myself. The Task Force is responsible for the identification and definition of the business and technical requirements of secure services which are then fed into the technical committees to develop specifications. We look forward to promoting the use of GlobalPlatform technologies to shape and advance IoT security in the years to come.

Communication has never been more important for the organization, as only by spreading GlobalPlatform’s message of collaboration will we be able to come together to overcome the technical and business challenges of the future. This is both within our membership ranks and with technical communities around the world. We will continue to strengthen relationships and establish new partnerships that enable the further adoption of GlobalPlatform technologies and promote secure and collaborative ecosystems.

To this end, the last year saw some of our most successful seminars and workshops to educate member and non-member stakeholders around the world. Back in June 2019 we hosted workshops on cybersecurity and certification in Washington DC. Our Asian workshops in Seoul, Shenzhen and Tokyo across August and September offered technical and business content on the need to secure our connected world.

All of this has seen us welcome significant global technology and cloud providers to our membership base, alongside membership level upgrades, which serves as a testament to the work we are doing as an organization. The new members have already started to contribute significantly to our work and we look forward to their continued collaboration.

Navigating challenging times

Unfortunately, in recent months things have become more challenging for everyone as the world battles the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our thoughts of course go out to our colleagues, friends, members and their loved ones at what are unprecedented and difficult times.

Despite the pandemic, GlobalPlatform continues in its mission. As an organization we are used, and well equipped, to working remotely and the virus has not deterred our efforts. For the safety of all concerned, we took the decision to host meetings virtually, but it is a credit to the dedication of our members that the Spring and Technical Meetings are moving ahead remotely and we thank the entire membership for their ongoing collaboration in this challenging period.

In terms of the next 12 months, it is exciting to observe first-hand the work that is ongoing within the organization. As the standard for digital services and devices, GlobalPlatform will take its success with more than 30 billion secure components deployed in banking, mobile and telecommunications to the rapidly expanding IoT ecosystem.

Look out for my next blog where I’ll unpack our technology initiatives further, explaining how our legacy work across secure components, secure devices, attestation, Root and Chain of Trust and more combine with new priorities like IoTopia, SESIP and secure microcontrollers to build an ecosystem united by a single focus: bringing greater security and trust to IoT.


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