Near Field Communication (NFC) is coming and its going to be everywhere. There is no doubt about it and a couple of reports today suggest that 2011 could be the year where it takes off in a big way in the US and the UK.
Reports today suggest that Apple will build NFC technology into the next generation of its mobile products. That means that the iPad 2 and the iPhone 5 could well allow users to swipe the devices at compatible retail outlet and do away for the need for cash. Analyst Richard Doherty told Bloomberg he was told by engineers working on the hardware that the technology was going to be built into the new products.
In December we saw the first phone to be introduced with NFC in the form of the Nexus S from Google. At the time we suggested that most smartphones from then on would include the technology and while some of the phones we saw at CES in Vegas recently didn’t have it, this report would again suggest that NFC will become a widespread technology. The inclusion of NFC with Apple’s devices should allow for seamless integration with its iTunes accounts which already have users credit card details on record. Though that might not necessarily be a good thing.
Of course having devices with NFC will be completely pointless if there is nowhere it can be used. The most high profile use of NFC at the moment is here in London with the Oystercard travel pass and yesterday we learned that another major outlet will soon be opened up for NFC transactions. McDonald’s announced that it would introduce contactless payment options at all 1,200 of its outlets in the UK by this summer. In conjunction with Visa, McDonald’s will allow diners to pay for their meals up to a value of £15 by waving their credit card at the till. Of course the next step is for Visa to introduce an Android and iOS app to allow Nexus S and iPhone 5 owners to use their phones to do the same thing.