Near field communications (NFC) is going to have a major impact on the mobile market in 2012. NFC allows devices, such as phones, to collect data from another device or NFC tag at close range. This has a number of applications because it doesn’t need contact or connection to share information between the two devices. Some of the possible uses for NFC are contactless payment, information sharing or location check-ins. This technology is getting ready to take off and will definitely have a major impact on 2012. Here are 3 major reasons NFC will take off in 2012:
1. They are easier to use than QR codes. I think most people agree that QR codes are a passing trend. QR codes or quick response codes let users to scan barcodes using their smartphones and then link them to unique content. The problem with QR codes is that they need a bar code scanner, they are ugly to look at and a lot of people don’t know how to use them. NFC on the otherhand is contactless and doesn’t require a barcode. The proximity of a smartphone to an NFC chip will trigger the desired effect. This means that users can touch their smartphones to learn more information about a product, rather than going through the complex process of scanning a barcode.
2. Lots of investment. A lot of companies are investing in NFC because they see the possibilities associated with this technology. Companies like Google, credit card companies and wireless providers are all investing in NFC mobile payment technology. Google has created Google Wallet which is an NFC enabled mobile payment application and wireless carriers are working on Isis.
3. Opportunity to gather information on consumers. NFC devices will help give companies insight into the buying habits of their consumers. For example, if a customer pays for a t-shirt using their phone, the phone will recognize that they have been to that store and what product they have purchased. This gives the company the opportunity to offer targeted discounts or deals to consumers based on their personal buying habits. Additionally, the devices can be used as loyalty cards because they store all buying information for a given customer.
However, there are a number of factors that can prevent the adoption of NFC technology. Americans in particular have fears about privacy and sharing personal information such as credit card numbers. This could deter people from using their phones for mobile payments, because they are afraid to put such sensitive information on their phone, which could be hacked or stolen. Another problem could be that the infrastructure is not yet in place. NFC isn’t a new technology, but it is certainly not common in most retail stores or current devices. Mobile payments threaten traditional credit card companies, because they offer an alternative way to pay and the phone developers must find a way to incorporate chips into their devices. I hope to see NFC technology take off over the next year! What do you think of the potential for NFC?