The jury is still very much out on the enigmatic NFC technology that’s started being integrated into the latest smartphones. NFC – or Near-Field Communication – is capable of extremely high data transfer speeds at very close range. In effect, you can transfer 100Mbps of data in just a second by tapping your phone against a compatible device.
The technology has already started being tested as a payment method. Samsung‘s new Galaxy S3, for instance, will be handed out to people involved with the London Olympics so that they can try using it to make NFC payments in certain shops, taxis, and around the Olympic Park.
While we can’t yet be sure whether this will really take off, Juniper Research have reported that 1 in 4 mobile phone users in the US and Western Europe will be using NFC to make standard in-store payments by 2017.
NFC payments have the advantage of being much quicker to use than fusty chip-and-pin machines. They can also be used for various other kinds of services, such as public transport.
The report’s co-author, Dr Windsor Holden, said
“NFC retail payments are still at an early stage, but hold great promise. In 2011 we saw significant strides made within the ecosystem such as the launch of Google Wallet, the announcements of more mobile wallet consortia and the supply of an increasing number of NFC-enabled smartphone models. NFC is now impacting the public consciousness and we expect a rapid market expansion from 2012 onwards.”
[Source: Juniper Research]