It was the third time I attended the NFC Congress at FH Hagenberg. I was happy to meet so many people still believing in the opportunities of this technology even though actual deployment is still progressing slowly. I attended the congress one day before the announcement of Apple’s iphone, but there seemed to be pretty much consensus that Apple will not be a driver of this technology either.
It was good to see how Nokia’s development of NFC finally got integrated into Microsoft’s Proximity API of Windows 8 which markets NFC as user experience instead of technical modes and parameters. However, the importance of windows mobile among Android and iOS still remains speculation.
Payment is still seen as the main driver – or currently the main show stopper – of NFC. Several talks pointed out the roadmap for NFC as starting with wireless cards being rolled out mainly in eastern and southern Europe, next would be NFC stickers on phones, and finally the full integrated into the phone.
There the challenge will be to group service around payment such as coupons, loyalty, promotion, transport in order to incentivize consumers to switch from established payment methods – in Germany mainly cash – to mobile payments.
Finally, NFC was also proposed for micro-merchants as an alternative to transaction terminals, I enjoyed the split screen application for taxi-drivers presented by the Sparkassen Verlag
Overall, the time horizon of greater adoption still remains unclear. Most participants, however, shared the believe that NFC would come sooner or later, mostly driven by the introduction of wireless cards which might be substituated by NFC later.
Thus, I’m already looking forward to the NFC 2013 workshop which is technically co-sponsored by IEEE Switzerland Section and will take place in Zurich, Switzerland.