NFC: the next big thing in mobile?

Someone asked me recently what I think the next big thing will be in mobile. My answer was “probably NFC”.  What’s NFC? From Wikipedia:

Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few centimetres. Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange, and simplified setup of more complex communications such asWi-Fi.[1] Communication is also possible between an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a “tag”.[2]

Many people are excited about the ability of NFC to facilitate mobile payments. As per the post and accompanying photo-set below though, I think there are a ton of other [potentially more] compelling use cases.  Here’s some that are exciting to me:

  • Simple pairing of bluetooth devices  – no more passcodes, just scan the tag on a bluetooth device and you’ll be paired. Great for getting in/out of the car and pairing with the car or a headset.
  • Access to cars/homes/offices – per the motorcycle example below, NFC can be used as a replacement/complement to a key.  This could be great to give dynamic access to homes for hired help, guests, renters, etc. and similarly for cars, e.g. Zipcar.
  • Wifi networks – Log-on to a wifi network in a cafe or office you’re visiting with a simple swipe.
  • Marketing-  finally realistically interactive billboards, signs, etc.  Scan to download an app, get a coupon, a video, etc.
  • Exchanging content with others – imagine Bump without having to open an app, etc.
  • Better mobile boarding passes/check-in/boarding.
I think there are lots of other things that will be built, but I’m excited for a technology that will let people intuitively interact with the world around them without having to download/open an app, take a picture, etc.
What do others think? Will it really be the next big thing or another failure like QR codes or other mainstream applications of RFID? Any other predictions of cool use cases?

NFC: More than just mobile payments

LG’s Optimus L5 is a confused smartphone Making a purchase is a prime example, of course, but NFC also can be used to secure your motorcycle, navigate your way through an unfamiliar subway system, and check in for Foursquare. There are a realm of possibilities, to be sure, and I took the opportunity to check them out while roaming the show floor.

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2 responses to “NFC: the next big thing in mobile?

  1. Pingback: Recent Apple Announcements – Summary and Reaction | Ron Feldman's Blog

  2. Pingback: iPhone 5 – Sprint killer? | Ron Feldman's Blog

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