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Industry Overview

Watches, wristbands and even rings can now be much more than simple accessories.

Today, consumers have a choice of multi-application contactless wearable devices which integrate a range of technologies into their everyday lives.

Despite initial slow adoption, a new generation of wearables have quickly gained popularity, with worldwide sales predicted to double by 2022 (CCS Insight). Contactless payment cards have made consumers familiar with ‘tap & go’ and smartphones have made the convenience of multi-function devices desirable. Now, wearable devices are bridging the gap between simple cards and feature-rich smartphones. But rapid development and innovation, needed to boost wearable tech adoption, mean that security is not always a key consideration for new devices entering the market.

Wearables, depending on their functionality and connectivity, allow consumers to check their notifications, track their health and fitness and conveniently pay for goods, as well as enabling ticketing and other value-added services. These devices may also be connected to cloud networks, sharing personal and financial data. If left vulnerable, wearable devices can be compromised, putting personal data and intellectual property (IP) at risk.

To achieve interoperable, user-friendly and reliable interaction between wearables and the wider IoT ecosystem, there needs to be a standardized solution for securing and managing these devices. Adoption of industry specifications creates a collaborative, open ecosystem to efficiently deliver and protect secure digital services on wearable devices.

GlobalPlatform Technology

To address the market challenges, GlobalPlatform has updated its Basic Financial Configuration, which was created initially for plastic payment smart cards. The GlobalPlatform Financial Configuration 1.0 supports the deployment of Secure Elements (SEs) in contactless-enabled wearables. It provides chip and device makers, banks and app developers with a single point of reference and implementation guide to help them launch wearables that can be remotely updated and support multiple applications, including payment, access control and transport ticketing.

The Financial Configuration 1.0:

  • Defines the minimum implementation requirements of the GlobalPlatform Card Specification for financial products.
  • Enables users to identify the exact specifications relevant to their project to ease development and deployment.
  • Provides sub-configurations to address different types of objects, from a simple card with a single payment application through to a multi-use, multi-application contactless wearable.

Industry Partner Comments

The SE has become an integral component in the new generation of smart devices as it builds trust in emerging ways to pay and authenticate. With the technology’s ever-growing scope, the standardization of application management within the SE, introduced by GlobalPlatform Specifications (Card Specification v2.3 – Amendment I), has allowed for the creation of truly interoperable services.

In addition, by providing the means to update the SE remotely, wearable devices can be better managed in the field, making them easier to use and providing a greater flexibility for consumers on accessing the new services.

- Abu Ismail, Product Marketing and Management, Secure Embedded Transactions, NXP
NXP Abu Ismail, Product Marketing and Management, Secure Embedded Transactions

GlobalPlatform Card Specification


GlobalPlatform Financial Configuration 1.0


GlobalPlatform for IoT and Wearables


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