The Telco muscle of the world all agree that Near Field Communications, or NFC, technology should be high on the agenda and reach the commercial markets as early as 2012.
NFC is the much hyped way to pay for stuff using your smartphone. But global industry heavyweights are committing to a roll-out, including Bharti, Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom, China Unicom and America Movil.
Franco Bernabe, the GSM Association’s (GSMA) chairman, thinks that the applications of NFC go far beyond your smartphone being your wallet. “NFC represents an important innovation opportunity, and will facilitate a wide range of services and applications including mobile ticketing, couponing, the exchange of information, control access to cars, homes, hotels, office car parks and more.” Best not to lose your phone, then.
Frost & Sullivan figures suggest that NFC’s total payment value will reach €110 billion by 2015. It certainly has the chance when backed with strong GSMA approval. Operators are hoping to standardise deployment of mobile NFC, with the SIM card the port of call for security and authentication.
The idea for now is to develop and test different standards on NFC to make sure it will work, globally. The GSMA warns that if there is no single standard NFC will effectively be crap, as users will not be able to reap the benefits of the technology when they travel elsewhere and find themselves faced by different operators, networks or devices.