Benjamin Vigier has been involved in the development of near field communication technology since 2004 and most recently was product manager for mobile wallet, payment and NFC at mobile payments specialists mFoundry.
Apple has hired an expert in near field communication technology as its new product manager for mobile commerce.
Benjamin Vigier has been working on NFC technology since 2004 and has been responsible for NFC activities at both French mobile network operator Bouygues Telecom and flash memory manufacturer Sandisk.
Most recently Vigier was product manager for mobile wallet, payment and NFC at US mobile payments specialist mFoundry. There he conceived and managed both the PayPal Mobile service and Starbucks' barcode-based mobile payments service and was also responsible for the development of mobile wallet applications for two top US mobile network operators and an NFC wallet application for a top three US bank.
A barrage of NFC-related Apple patent applications have been published over the last few months. They cover a wide range of potential NFC application areas and include:
- An NFC-based mobile payments service that lets consumers make payments to merchants and other consumers via a credit or debit card, directly from their bank account or using credit stored in their iTunes account.
- The 'iPay, iBuy and iCoupons' patents, describing a comprehensive mobile payments, mobile commerce and mobile marketing business based around an NFC-enabled iPhone.
- Products+, an NFC-based product marketing and promotions application.
- An airline ticketing and boarding pass application that describes an unmanned, automated airport ticketing and baggage counter kiosk and introduces the concept of an automated security checking process where users of the iTravel app could process themselves through the security clearance system and check themselves in at the boarding gate.
- The Grab & Go patent, designed to make it easy for customers to transfer files between devices such as the Mac, iPhone and Apple TV.
- An NFC-enabled iPod, games controller, TV and iPhone.
- An NFC-based concert, entertainment and sports venue ticketing application that includes exclusive bonus features for users of Apple's service.
Exactly what mobile commerce products Vigier will be working on at Apple are, of course, not yet in the public domain — and Vigier declined to comment about his new role when NFC World contacted him today. Given that he has had so much experience with mobile money applications, however, the choice of Vigier to product manage mobile commerce does, at least, point towards a continued interest at Apple in taking at least some of these patent applications from concept to commercial reality.