For some time, there has been some talk about where near-field communication (NFC) might be going. If it is to take off, many people see it as something that people will use to pay on the go. Want to buy that cup of coffee? Purchase office supplies? Pay for your gas? Just swipe your phone.
While several companies are working on ways to do NFC payments, I don’t know if that is where NFC might take off initially. As noted in two articles I read [here and here], the option for NFC payments as a replacement for other payment forms isn’t the key. Rather, it is the features on top of that which will convince consumers and merchants to participate.
Where I think this could see some use is in marketing. More and more companies are putting themselves on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, among other servers. Some businesses even have stickers and banners telling their customers that they are on these networks and services, too.
So why not link up NFC technology with these services?
Let’s say I want to check in to a store I enter. All I would have to do is swipe my phone near their (let’s say) Foursquare banner. My phone would bring up a dialogue asking if I want to check in or not. With one tap on the screen, I’ve checked in.
The same could be done for any number of things. Do I want to like their Facebook page? Do I want to connect via LinkedIn? Do I want to follow their Twitter account? If those options could be given to me with the swipe of my phone, I would be able to easily keep up with that business online.
If this business is using social media or location based services to offer promotions and deals or to stay in touch with their customer-base, this would be an easy way for their customers to take part and stay in touch.
Or let’s say I go into a deli but have no idea what I want. Why not let me swipe my phone and link me to a menu that I can read for myself? I wouldn’t have to bring up any QRCode app to scan/photograph a code.
In short, there are many options that can be explored with this technology. Will it see wide acceptance? Probably not for a while. Will mobile NFC payments take off? No way to know. But payments aren’t the only option for this technology, and there are many avenues that can be taken with it.
Personally, I would rather use NFC for this type of ability than payments. If someone were to steal my phone, I wouldn’t want them to be able to pay for things with it. But I would be perfectly okay with them checking me into Foursquare.