- The momentum for ISIS has gotten stronger with the inclusion of more stakeholders on the payment front. While it is unclear who the new partners are, it is clear the ISIS consortium is moving past Discover and Barclays to expand their scope of partners. If you recall, ISIS is a carrier driven NFC pilot scheduled to roll out in Utah this summer. It turns out that of all the places considered, Salt Lake City was the only venue that had the best infrastructure to support a NFC based pilot.
- No clarity yet on the inclusion of NFC in iPhone 5. Rumors have it that the iPhone 5 may not have NFC enabled. I still tend to disagree and am of the opinion that Apple is working various angles to ensure that they get a good piece of the NFC action. Until that happens, they may not announce the inclusion of NFC.
- Google recently announced the “Google Wallet” (May 25) that essentially leverages the Nexus S and makes it the centre of the payment universe. With partnership across many merchants, the intent is to also offer end-users coupons, discounts and the like in addition to of course using the phone as a payment device.
With NFC slowly but steadily gaining momentum, feedback from end-users is also coming in. Thus, far the response from end-users has been luke warm at best. The early adopters are of course excited, but the bulk of the market is indifferent. I have seen feedback that is extremely negative with many folks concerned about privacy, security and the like. Many feel that this is a ploy to get them to buy a smartphone – and they may have a good point here J. Also, what happens if you lose your phone or if you are out of batteries? Good questions – right? As the mobile phone sort of becomes the centre of the universe in our day to day lives, these concerns better be addresessed.
I guess as the technology matures, we’ll have answers. I am hoping that the proponents of NFC are listening closely to what folks are saying. I have noticed that the market in the US is more conservative in adopting technologies that intimately touch their lives. Personal finance is a very intimate thing and no one wants to bugger with it, especially since a lot of us are still living the financial crisis. My take is that in the U.S adoption of NFC payments (specifically) will take a while to make inroads into the consumer psyche and this technology will co-exist with the current payment systems. Over time as the technology matures the adoption rate (for the payments usage model) can dramatically increase.
No matter how things play out in the payments arena w.r.t NFC, the future is still bright for this technology when it comes to other applications that are less intrusive such as smart posters etc.