Never mind that Apple’s new iPhone 5 still doesn’t offer near-field communication capabilities. Panelists at the Global Mobal Interface Conference in San Jose remain bullish on NFC becoming the key bridge between mobile devices and the digital world.
While e-commerce and payments are an important part of what NFC brings to the table, consumers are still getting used to the idea of waving their phone over a surface to pay for things, said Mohamed Awad, associate NFC product line director at Broadcom. But consumers are demanding better options for linking devices together to share information.
“Not everybody understands how to perform a lot of the actions enabled by today’s devices,” Awad said, noting it’s no easy thing for the average consumer to hook up a smartphone to a big screen TV to view video shot on the phone writ large. “When you plug a lamp into a wall socket, something happens. You get light. And that’s what NFC is about — briding the wireless world to the physical world.”
While standards are key to NFC’s widespread adoption, the consumer electronics industry remains in the early stages of making that happen, he said. “NFC is very similar to earlier common standards that today are shipping billions of units monthly.”
Despite having been in the mobile payment space since Blaze Mobile’s founding in 2005, CEO and founder Michelle Fisher continues to believe that NFC never was for commerce only.
She cited four other vertical markets where NFC is poised to take off — healthcare, automotive, workplace identification and the home. Toward that end, she announced Friday afternoon that Blaze Mobile is partnering with location based services company Socially Relevant to bring NFC initially to patients and physicians in California and Texas.
“Integrating highly targeted offers and combining them with mobile payment and social media creates a proposition tt benefits consumers, advertisers, and merchants,” Fisher said.