In this guest post by Magnus Jern, he sums up the current opportunities and challenges of implementing NFC mobile solutions.
NFC has been around since 2003 but it´s not until now that technology and adoption are ready for commercial deployment. It is embedded in the latest Android handsets, including the Nexus S. RIM are including it in all their new devices and Apple want to equip the iPhone 5 with an NFC chip, despite rumours they would not. Nokia is launching a series of devices including NFC, starting with the C7 and most other handset manufacturers will include NFC in their devices within the next 2 years.
According to Wikipedia: “Near field communication, or NFC, is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. (…) This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries. NFC peer-to-peer communication is also possible, where both devices are powered.”
The technology is enabling new and exciting mobile interactions such as loyalty cards, identification, travel tickets and micro-payments.
What is the cost of implementing NFC in your mobile applications?
The implementation of writing and reading data on the application side is fairly straight forward, just a few API calls that most developers will already be familiar with.
So the cost of implementing NFC in an application is very small compared to the cost of setting up the backend infrastructure that may be required to support it. A typical NFC application, which reads an NFC chip once to authenticate that the user has been in a certain store or redeemed a voucher, could cost as little as 10-20.000 euros to implement, but NFC itself can be added to existing applications very cheaply.
So what’s next?
During the coming years we will see thousands of different applications including NFC. Some of those will be ground-breaking and others will quickly be forgotten. Banks, retailers, transportation businesses, fast food restaurants and events companies will all be experimenting with the possibilities. Watch this space.