German company Wirecard have created a payments orientated wearable to challenge the Apple Watch.
The wristband has an embedded NFC chip and Bluetooth radio that connects to a smartphone, allowing the user to load credit or debit card information onto the device and use it to pay instead of a plastic card.
The Smart Band uses Host Card Emulation (HCE) to create a smart card in software, allowing it to use tokenization to secure transactions. Rather than using static mag stripe data – a payment protocol that is being gradually removed from usage in the US thanks to the introduction of EMV – the credit card associated with the Smart Band generates a unique number, called a token, for every transaction so merchants never receive the actual card credentials.
Wirecard has yet to reveal the Smart Band’s additional functions, only adding that it “can also be connected to numerous mobile services, such as loyalty schemes, and can be used as an admission control wristband”. But the photo the company released shows a message notification and a weather widget, indicating that the band will be a fully functioning smart watch rather than purely payments-orientated.
The Smart Band is due to be displayed at the Digital-Life-Design conference in Munich next week, but the company has yet to announce its release, or clarify whether the band will be released outside Europe to compete with the Apple Watch on a wider scale. But Apple is unlikely to be the only financial wearable to be in use over the next few years, so there could still be a place for Smart Band in the wearables market.
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