The rapid deployment of mobile related financial services has created commercial drivers for the creation of NFC infrastructure where mobile devices can interact for payments, security, identity and loyalty. Strengthening the ecosystem to a level that supports mainstream scale, deeply engaging services and multiple service layers.
Three unique advantages of a strong NFC Eco-System are:
- Interactivity: One of the weakest parts of the modern day payments systems is its inability to be interactive. Your VISA card can’t tell you its current balance. In the connected applications can be provided that display purchase records and balance on the screen n real-time.
- Remote Multi-Application Management: The deployment of Multi-application by the NFC has the greatest potential as multiple industry players aim to push their service to market. Service management functions, such as dynamic provision, assignment of trusted services, application downloads, personalization and locking/unlocking of services. Management functions can be executed remotely in real time, so that a user can start a new service immediately following subscription, bringing new meaning to the term “anytime-anywhere.”
- Remote User Management: User management functions are enabled for users and service providers by leveraging the “always on” communication of mobile networks. For example, service providers, with users’ consent, can retrieve NFC service usage records and send users customized information during transactions or on other occasions. In another example, users can access their personal data in real time and can be more proactive about the information they would like to receive.
But NFC is far more than just Payments. It is anticipated in the next few years, NFC will penetrate our daily lives as multiple industries come with a consolidated approach to infrastructure. Government bodies could issue identities into the contactless same NFC ecosystem payments providers issue mobile wallets. Service provision can extend to a retailer for loyalty, an airline for ticketing, and many more. Essentially they all enable their service through the trusted ecosystem.
Users will adopt NFC services only if they feel that they are receiving new functionality and/or advantages. An NFC Mobile Phone is always connected to a mobile network, and service providers can send messages to the phone anytime and anywhere. An interactive real-time one-to-one user management scenario becomes possible and makes NFC mobile services more attractive to users, and deepen the value of the relationship between the service provider and the consumer.
One of the limitations of NFC is its need for the consumer and the acceptor to be in the same physical location. Which is great for transactions or services that usually occur with the consumer present, but it excludes remote or not present transactions. For example, it makes no sense having to find and NFC point for purchasing event tickets in advance. Therefore the mobile payments ecosystem needs to include capabilities for enabling transactions that occur remotely.
One of the best case studies I’ve see of late is that of Tesco in South Korea who came up with a brilliant idea. People in South Korea work long hours so retailers are looking for efficient way to sell their products. Billboards are put up in subway stations with Tesco’s range of products, accompanied by QR codes. All people had to do is scan the QR codes with their cell phone and the groceries were delivered to their doorsteps. Check out this video on the service:
Predictions for the Future
While mobile’s role as a service enabler, particularly in payments has gone through some maturation in the past 10 years, its time has come. Over the coming few years, your mobile phone will play an increasingly central role in your daily life. More than likely your next mobile phone purchase decision will be more about the services it enables rather than what it looks like. Services such as identity, payments, home automation, build access, loyalty, memberships, and many more will integrate into your most personal electronic device. Your mobile phone, creating opportunities for service providers to differentiate and engage consumers through superior user experiences. Those that can create simple, smart, contextualized experiences will see main stream attraction as legacy approaches become extinct.