Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Could We Finally Be Ready For NFC?

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2015 was supposed to be the Year of NFC (Near Field Communication).  Apple had just launched their Apple Pay platform in late 2014 and Google was doing the same with Android Pay.  So the techarazzi was abuzz with the idea of swiping/bumping/hovering our phones instead of clicking or typing (gasp!) on our keyboards, all courtesy of the eminent NFC revolution.

But then things sort of fizzled.  Outside of swiping your phone at the Starbucks register there were very few real world applications for NFC, which stalled its usage growth.  But things might just be changing three years later as NFC use starts to mainstream.  Part of the usage increase will be due to platform accessibility.  Operating systems like iOS 11 now natively support NFC apps, and it’s forecasted that by 2020 85% of smartphones sold worldwide will be NFC-enabled.  Also expect to see a huge push from retailers.  Traditional B&M stores are looking for ways to improve their path to purchase to make buying faster and more convenient, and NFC will be a big part of that transformation.  For an example envision the register-less stores of tomorrow where your mobile device is linked to a virtual shopping cart as you walk in, and then all the products you take with you are wrung up by their NFC sensor tags in your cart as you leave the store.  The third factor contributing to NFC’s surge will be our society’s growing acceptance of mobile payment systems.  With Paypal, Venmo and Zelle, we’re all getting more comfortable with using our phones to make purchases and transfer cash to one another.  This trend will play right into NFC’s mobile sweet spot.

So yes, NFC is still a good idea whose time might be coming a little later than was expected.    I’m just hoping I get to use my phones NFC reader before next gen facial recognition technology replaces hover-to-purchase with blink-to-purchase.

 

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