With NFC being such a hot topic at the moment, Gemma Ravensdale, Planning Director at Mubaloo, looks into the opportunity and our future projections.

NFC (Near Field Communication) is set to simplify digital interaction in the real world. This extends what is possible with a Smartphone, now giving ultimate accessibility through the mobile device for info, payment and identification. Just today it has been announced by the BBC that McDonald’s, Pret-a-manger, EAT and some Boots stores have signed up to the first service in the UK that will enable customers to pay for purchases via their mobile.

When holding a mobile device over a tag, NFC enables the Smartphone to unlock location-relevant content, which may be hosted within an App or a mobile optimised webpage. The user is able to respond or interact on the spot, without the complications of search or web entry.

If you’ve not yet encountered NFC, you soon will, and chances are it will be a feature within the next Smartphone that you or your customers will purchase. This is predicted to be found within 400m mobile devices by 2015 (Berg Insight) and 1 in 5 Smartphones within the next 3 years (Juniper Research). So let us introduce you to the basics…

  • NFC is a short range (10cm) wireless point-to-point communication standard, which relies on two essential components – a tag and an NFC enabled device (i.e. mobile phone).
  • NFC uses inductive coupling for the detection and transfer of NDEF (NFC Data Exchange Format) data between the tag and the device.
  • Tags are small and cost effective so may be embedded within a poster, product label or even a magazine page.
  • The big opportunity lies in the direct access to the content – this presents an instant call to action so presents huge revenue potential. Juniper has recently commented that whilst many companies are focusing on the payment aspect, greater revenue potential is expected from the retail shopping opportunity where coupons and smart posters can be used for the discovery of product info.

Here are our projections:

  • Until NFC devices become more prevalent, the short-term opportunity lies with clients who are able to control device distribution. Museums, for instance, could offer tablet devices for access to rich location-specific content, with tags installed at key exhibits. NFC presents a far more cost effective solution than a WiFi or Bluetooth installation.
  • Posters and Product info are then expected to be huge growth areas, launching direct access to apps for vouchering, payment and brand interaction. In-store experiences, product tags and loyalty schemes are all set to benefit, with various modes of use offering a range of interaction, whether one-way or peer-to-peer.
  • NFC has the potential to seam together digital and real world experiences. Tourism, property sales and the motor trade all rely on signage in-situ, with websites or apps for access to additional data. Why not enable direct access on the spot and offer the whole deal?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and projections so please post a comment or give us a call to discuss further.

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