Regular followers of our blog will recall the Contactless Challenge that we ran towards the end of 2012, pitting two bloggers against each other to test London’s readiness for NFC payments. During the challenge one of our bloggers, Ewan MacLeod, had to travel to Barcelona for a conference. He thought it wouldn’t be a problem as Barcelona is the host of Mobile World Congress – ‘the mobile capital of the world’ – but it ultimately led to him losing the challenge.
It’s best to watch his video below, which outlines just how tricky it was to make NFC purchases while in Barcelona.
I was thus intrigued to read a recent GoMo News blog post claiming that this year’s MWC in Barcelona 2013 will offer an ‘NFC Experience’. The GSMA is behind this initiative, which is to be applauded, and will showcase an integrated range of mobile NFC services throughout the new venue, Fira Gran Via, as well as in the city of Barcelona.
It’s encouraging that the City of Barcelona is collaborating with Mobile World Capital to provide specific areas for attendees to experience NFC technology in action but, based on Ewan’s reports, there’s still quite a bit to do before this can become a reality.
We have already started creating a map with NFC-enabled venues in and around London and hope to crowdsource NFC-enabled areas and places at Mobile World Congress in a couple of months’ time. We believe NFC technology should be about the user experience and the more you can tap into the MWC delegates’ personal experiences and contactless desires, the more likely Barcelona will become a convenient, secure NFC-enabled hub for its inhabitants and visitors.
In the meantime, there’s plenty to do in anticipation of Mobile World Congress. How ready are you? Follow Countdown2MWC on @321mwc to stay on top of the latest news and recommendations. We might just be on the road to making Barcelona not only the mobile capital of the world, but the NFC-enabled mobile capital of the world.