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April 18, 2008

The poster child of ‘touch to pay’

LONDON, UK – My recent chat with Jeremy Belostock, Head of NFC at Nokia, about the future of Near Field Communication, helped reinforce a personal belief that touch-to-pay and NFC has the potential to permanently alter the way we behave with our phones, and that it can in fact have a significantly positive environmental effect.

For this to happen, NFC needs to deliver an effortless experience in order to engage us without thinking. So when handed the new NFC poster-child handset, the Nokia 6212 classic, all I could hope was, “please work”.

I touch my handset with another and immediately both screens light up to exchange business cards. The first hurdle. Tapping an NFC alarm tag brings up the alarm clock on my phone, the idea being it can be positioned at your bedside for easy access. Touching another tag sucks up a MP3, as it might if you touched an NFC-enabled poster as you walk down the street. Then I exchange a photo with a tap. It’s hugely encouraging that this experience of exchanging information for payment, ticketing or whatever suitable scenario, is as seamless as it should be.

The challenge now has to be establishing widespread NFC-enabled environments, which is something else Jeremy Belostock touches on in our recent talk (see it here).

Do you think getting NFC to become a part of our lives must be a slow and gradual process, or must these touch environments evolve rapidly to succeed?