Applications which incorporate NFC benefit from an elegance and simplicity for the users which is difficult for other mobile technologies and channels, e.g. SMS or barcodes to emulate. NFC applications can be invoked by a simple physical tap, rather than the need to open up a mobile application.
The enthusiasm for NFC technology in mobile commerce – especially payments and coupons – has been widely acknowledged by industry players. But how enthusiastic are the consumers? Take my example – I have had an NFC phone for almost 14 months. I regret to say this, but I have never used the technology for anything, be it payment or transferring files or contacts. With Apple having once again refused to acknowledge NFC as a mainstream technology by not putting a chip in its iPhone5, there is a severe need for a good PR exercise for the technology. So, are free smart tags a good PR exercise? Possibly, yes.
Sony Mobile has been once again kind enough to lend us its latest smartphone, the Xperia T (British super-spy James Bond’s smartphone in the most recent film in the 007 series: Skyfall) along with some NFC Smart Tags to play with. Sony’s SmartTags (first introduced in January 2012) are quite an exciting prospect for promoting the technology amongst consumers. It offers a convenience and simplicity to consumers in this fast paced world where saving time equates to saving money. An NFC tag often contains information such as phone numbers, website URLs and also to launch mobile applications. For example, imagine tapping your phone against a smart tag placed next to your bed making your phone to switch to silent mode or activate the wake-up alarm…
Not the most sophisticated application for NFC, but we need more of this. We believe that this concept of tapping in a relaxed environment will ready consumers for the driving force behind NFC: mobile payments. Although – and this is a big “although” we believe that Apple’s decision not to include the NFC chipset will have a significant negative impact on the market. Watch this space next week for more on NFC Mobile Payments & Retail Marketing from Dr. Windsor Holden.