As defined by the NFC Forum, ‘Near Field Communication (NFC) technology makes life easier and more convenient for consumers around the world by making it simpler to make transactions, exchange digital content, and connect electronic devices with a touch.’
I like this description as it implies that NFC makes life easier and more convenient, in response to Jeb Brilliant‘s question (The Mobile Perspective). While the technology has existed for some time, it’s only recently that it has truly seen more widespread adoption, including integration with mobile devices. (Which are, as we now know, the key to the consumer’s heart and soul: always-on, always present.) Huawei’s recent smartphone launch here in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, the Ascend, which incorporates NFC technology is further proof that it is already being embraced.
For contactless technology to transition towards point of sale, mobile money and coupons, however, the NFC technology and services providers need to partner with major industry players. Whether card merchants, retailers, transport and other operators, to become part of the transactional world, it becomes more complex.
I would argue, in fact, that the NFC Forum omitted a key point in its description of NFC – namely security. As soon as a technology starts to facilitate payment transactions in particular, the parting of cash, security needs to be front of mind. That’s why we’re working closely with the likes of China UnionPayto build a secure NFC ecosystem for instance, or why our UpTeq NFC SIM and Allynis Trusted Services Management (TSM) platform are at the heart of Brazil’s first mobile NFC payment program. Mobile operators, banks, card merchants and other key players recognize the need for security in order for NFC technology to be more widely embraced. Once the security is in place, then we can expect more education and awareness programs to feature in order to drive adoption and for heightened security and convenience in our digital world. Additionally, with more widespread adoption comes an increased security risk as more unencrypted data passes between our devices and the cloud, and we can expect more handsets with embedded security to be manufactured.
In the meantime, the more we can share NFC experiences, the more people will become aware of how simple and convenient, and secure, NFC interactions can be. Whether our recent Contactless Challenge in the UK or the NFC Experience we’re supporting here in Barcelona, there are endless opportunities. The question is, what are you doing to drive NFC adoption for the consumer?