Near Field Communication is a hot topic in the news at the moment. Wherever you look, you see another story about a shop using NFC to enable contactless technology, or another mobile operator enabling its contactless payments with a touch of the cell phone. But what really stands out for the users? What do they like about it? Unless they work in a technology company, it’s unlikely they’ll say ‘it’s the technology’. More likely is that they’ll quote the convenience of the transaction.
The technology – as always – is only a facilitator. As an enabler, it can change the way we do things, making it easier for us to do new, interesting things. So now that the technology is ready and being implemented, who stands to make money from it?
Well, with shorter lines in shops and malls as consumers pay more quickly and conveniently, retailers potentially stand to gain. As cell phone users upgrade their devices to an NFC-enabled one, mobile providers have an opportunity to differentiate. NFC in the supply chain can cut the cost of logistics. In short, all those who are already in the value chain, so long as the convenience factor remains strong.
However, as well as ‘updating’ old processes, there are also entirely new experiences that have the potential to be facilitated by NFC. The Internet is being used in ways that are wildly evolved from what its pioneers imagined – including totally new types of social connection through Facebook, blogs, etc. What if the killer application of NFC were not some purely a convenient way of doing mundane tasks – paying, getting information, etc – but also a new innovative way of interacting with others? How about a speed-dating application for singles who can inform their entourage that they are single? How about exchanging contact details with friendly people? Or exchanging pictures, videos, etc?
What do you think? What will the killer app be?
We’d love to discuss this with you at the NFC World Congress in the French Riviera from this morning. We’ll be in booth 7. Come and see us!