The great wait continues, but in a different way to all the others in this list: NFC is here, but its adoption is being fought. The theory is simple, NFC will let you leave your cash and wallet at home, pay for goods in record time using your phone and keep digital receipts that aren’t as easily lost as paper ones. Transaction security should improve and Visa even capitalised on the Olympics feel good factor (and notoriously strict sponsor branding) by covering the Olympic stadium in contactless payment ports using its payWave system. Shouldn’t we all be in the swing of things now?
Sadly not. Hindering widespread implementation are numerous factors: NFC payment points are expensive to implement, payment through phones is still treated with suspicion, there are speed issues and the most influential phone on the market, the iPhone 5, not only refuses to integrate the technology, but openly competes with it. It sounds obvious, but until people don’t have to think about using NFC, they will have to think about having to use it. Questions have been raised about whether NFC will ever blossom. It should, but it will take time.
There is a brilliant cartoon which shows a software developer lamenting the fragmentation of standards, he swears to create a universal standard that will unite everyone. It ends with another developer lamenting the creation of ”yet another” standard. This is the tale of wireless charging, a technology which is widely available, but hindered by the lack of a single industry standard. Solutions from the likes of Powermat, LG, Samsung and Nokia continue to flood the market, but until everyone is using the same method and fitting the same charge points (arguable as important as the switch to microUSB) then progress will stagnate.
Elegant solutions exist. The wonderfully named PowerKiss ‘rings’ are amongst the most elegant, but again it is proprietary (edit: it uses Qi technology). Chrysler integrated wireless charging into the 2013 Dodge Dart, but went down the same route… as did Ford, Intel, Qi and more. Who will win? All that matters is someone does so a dominant standard can emerge, but right now every new solution – as the cartoon foretold – is just another problem.