Revolutionary Measures

Short changing the customer?

NFCThere’s been talk about using mobile phones to pay for stuff for a long time, but until now it has been pretty much confined to Japan.

But now the technology seems to be very much coming of age. Last week Orange and Barclaycard announced the UK’s first Near Field Communication (NFC) service, where consumers simply swipe their phone over a reader to pay for low value items. And now Google is poised to announce its own NFC platform, while Apple is reportedly planning to include NFC in the iPhone 5.

The idea is a strong one – why carry around a pocketful of jangling change when you can just wave your phone and buy things? However I think adoption will be slower than predicted – while analysts Forrester predict that 40-50 million NFC equipped phones will be sold in 2011, how many will actually be used in practice? For me, coverage has to be total – if you still need to use cash in your local newsagent you’re not going to leave your wallet at home.

And moving beyond early adopters the biggest fear is going to be privacy – the data you give up on your buying habits will be invaluable to retailers (and the likes of Google). For many people these fears will outweigh the ease of use that NFC brings – remember the protests that greeted the attempted introduction of RFID chips by Tesco and Gillette?

Time for the retail and telecoms industries to be proactive, put in place a code of conduct and head off consumers’ privacy fears before they reach the front page of the Daily Mail……..

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May 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment