NFC World today welcomes Beijing-based Okey Co as a member of our partner program. Okey Co has developed a “universal digital key” which combines NFC reader capabilities, contactless card emulation, user authentication and Bluetooth pairing in a compact, standalone 38mm fob that offers a wide range of potential use cases and business models, from payments to access control, transit ticketing, loyalty rewards and more.
The idea behind the development of Okey, CEO Antoine Li told NFC World, is to offer a ‘universal key’ which connects the real world and the virtual world, providing the user with a single, compact trusted device that makes their lives both safer and easier — safer because it offers better safeguarding of their personal privacy and security and easier because it enables the holder to keep a wide range of cards and credentials all in one device.
“At Okey, we believe that hardware-based security is essential,” Li explained. “A key feature is that it separates payment from authentication. The Okey is designed to keep payments and other secure credentials away from the user’s mobile phone, to reduce risks of data breach and fraud.”
Supported applications include:
- Identity and authentication — The Okey can store multiple login details within its secure element, enabling users to securely sign into an account without needing to enter a password.
- Payment card emulation — The Okey can hold contactless versions of open loop and closed loop payment cards, transportation and ticketing cards, merchant membership programs, gift cards and more. The device has the capacity to store more than 20 cards.
- Access control — The Okey can be used as an employee ID card or a digital key, replacing access cards, ID cards, meal cards, hotel room keys and more.
- NFC reader — The Okey can be used to recharge a transportation card, to read electronic identity data and to read a payment card.
- Bluetooth pairing — The Okey can connect to multiple Bluetooth hosts, including the user’s laptop, phone and tablet. It also includes a proximity alarm function that triggers when the device is moved more than two metres from the user’s mobile phone.
“Pure software-based payment systems hold great systemic risk,” says Jin Lin, Okey’s CTO. “If the user’s client software or system is hacked then data security and integrity cannot be guaranteed and you have a dangerous situation.
“Our goal is to help users and issuers achieve point-to-point encryption to protect the user’s security.
“As a core value, Okey Co will always make the user’s safety and security our top priority. We believe that, in the long run, hardware security is the best way to provide this and has great market potential.”
Hardware debugging is now complete, the company told NFC World, and certification work is in progress. The Okey will be available at the end of 2017.
“The Okey Co team is open to exploring all the different ways we could work with companies across the card, key and secure credentials markets, in whatever part of the world they are based,” Li adds, “from public transportation operators to banks, mobile network operators, ID card issuers, authentication solution providers and potential channel partners.