Have you heard about transferring recipes and food apps to your smart phone with a simple tap? Or making small purchases using your phone, all while stocking shopping rewards, so that you can avail a discount on your next visit. NFC has the potential to bring in a seamless experience for customers. While this technology has been a novelty so far, NFC could fast become the future of seamless information sharing.
At its core, NFC identifies its user to a device, such as a computer, and facilitates the information transfer process. This can be extensively applied to enable data transfer, not just between devices, but also between an organization and its customer. It could eliminate the need for a physical bus pass, a loyalty card, and even a wallet by digitally enabling them in a smartphone. Leading organizations around the world are implementing this technology for its ability to augment the customer experience without elaborate infrastructure. It just requires a microchip in a phone that works as a wireless radio communications standard for data transfer. Then, NFC tags can be programmed with information and embedded into the required material and ‘read’ as and when tapped with a smartphone.
NFC brings security to data transfer to enable mobile payments. Once a machine recognizes an NFC phone as a bankcard, account specifics can be identified and instant payments can be made. Retailers can even move entire loyalty schemes onto NFC, allowing customers to obtain shopping points and rewards on their mobiles. NFC can also enable secure system access in office blocks and networks through user identification, allowing a whole workforce ease of access to company systems. It can be easily deployed, programmed, and updated, whilst even being tailored according to area specifics. Marketers are now adopting this technology to complement their out-of-home activation strategies, allowing customers to directly interface with a brand. In the future, NFC could bring also about travel without passports, using a smartphone for a boarding pass. The ability of NFC to simplify information sharing processes makes future opportunities for this technology numerous. Furthermore, NFC platforms operate on low power needs as the tags draw energy from the device that reads them, through magnetic induction.
Although the foundation of the NFC ecosystem is in place, organizations are faced with the challenge of building trust in this technology. This begins with user awareness of NFC. A recent survey by Kinetic Worldwide revealed that 21% of smartphone owners had heard of NFC in comparison to 71% awareness for QR codes. However, the increasing amount of device compatibility— 20% expected by next year—and an expected market worth of more than $1.15 billion by 2016, will change this. The move towards an immersive engagement experience that implements NFC technology will further fuel awareness. Analysts even suggest that NFC tags could be as commonplace as bar codes, prominent across verticals. What are your thoughts on the proliferation of NFC in simplifying the customer experience? Please share your comments in the section below.