Near Field Communication (NFC) is loaded with geeky features any tech fan would love: low power (no power for passive tags), encryption, inductive charging and it’s short range to reduce interference. NFC works quickly and doesn’t require a complicated setup or device paring — a significant advantage over competitive Bluetooth solutions.
With a simple tap NFC can be used to buy products, collect and redeem coupons, check in on social networks like FourSquare, and share photos between devices to name but a few. We’ve used is here at Untold to create a game controller and trigger theme music when we check-in. In short, it’s cool technology. However, whether NFC can prevail as a consumer technology remains to be seen.
Market research predicts that the majority of point-of-sales (POS) systems will be able to accept payment using NFC within the next five years. But the keys to success in consumer adoption are simplicity, utility and ubiquity. And it doesn’t hurt to have a “Killer App.”
NFC certainly succeeds on the simplicity and utility fronts. The ubiquity picture isn’t quite so clear. In the United States, about one million NFC Android devices are being activated weekly, great news if you’re an NFC proponent. The only real for NFC in 2012 was the lack of hardware support for NFC on the iPhone 5, which means it’s likely to be at least another year before iPhone users can experience NFC.
The technology graveyard is littered with NFC’s forerunners, like RFID, barcode and myriad variants or QRCode. And while these technology were, and are, effective in niche markets none manage to hit critical mass from a consumer perspective. NFC definitely addresses many of their short comings, but whether it will succeed where others have failed remains to be seen.
Image source: BGR.com