How far can you travel with your NFC phone?
From time to time we hear stories of how someone has done something amazing with the minimum of resources – for example, travelled from A to B without paying or survived in a certain country for months on less than $1 per day etc. Well, a recent announcement from SITA, the airline industry IT and communications organisation, predicts a future where anyone could travel around the world with just a NFC-enabled phone: “SITA has taken the air transport industry a step closer to introducing near field communication (NFC) technology with the unveiling of the first proof-of-concept which uses the NFC chip inside smartphones. This SIM-based proof-of-concept demonstrates how passengers' journeys through the airport can become much smoother as they use their NFC-enabled phone to simply "tap and check-in" or "tap and board" their flight”. Not only this, but SITA has also predicted that, by 2018, 50% to 80% of all boarding passes could be NFC – that’s a massive number of boarding passes representing a huge revenue. In our view these sorts of predictions justify the importance Juniper Research attaches to the development of the NFC market and its impact on not only on retail payments but also on the travel and ticketing industry. Anyone who has juggled itineraries, paper boarding passes, passports, visas, baggage tags and frequent-flyer cards during their journey through the airport (usually the hardest part) will appreciate how great it would be to have all these items in just one place - your mobile phone. Admittedly, getting your passport and visas on your phone is still a long way off and will take a lot of inter-governmental liaison, but all the rest is eminently possible, as SITA has predicted, and to some degree has already been implemented around the world today. Add to this the capability to pay for your refreshments in the airport or on the plane using NFC and your phone is fast becoming the “Swiss Army Knife” for airline travel – it’s all you need.