It is almost here, the wallet in the cloud. Do we want it, can we live with it, and will it be safe? Those are the perplexing problems or questions that keep people guessing on the wholesale roll out of the technology. Much the same questions when we first developed checks, and then credit cards. Oh, and I guess there is the technology issues too. The standards for the protocol to control this communication between devices is a very tricky item. Can a iPhone from Apple communicate with an Android powered Samsung S3? And what about the newer Window based smartphones?
But the true test is ? will the public accept it. The implementation can be very interesting to say the least. Here is the basis of the technology in pure layman’s terms. (The geeks in the crowd can tune out for a bit, since this may be maddening.)
The technology is based on the protocol of sending messages between machine over a very short distance. The distance is one of the security issues. But what it allows you to do is store your financial information securely on your smartphone and allows you to authorize the passing of information much like you do when you swipe a credit card, to a reader device or another smartphone. (In the EU, the use of a computer chip on the plastic credit card is a form of NFC, but very defined to require the physical contact of the device to the reader.) In NFC, you only have to be close to the reader” to pass the information. The most obvious use would be to pay for a transaction. However there could several other uses like file transfer to share pictures music or video files. And since the technology is based on radio frequency there is no need for a line of sight like what is needed for Infrared.
Let’s look at some of the possible scenarios where NFC can be an enhancer to common everyday occurrences. For instance dinner out. Taken to the extreme the restaurant could have NFC communicators at each table. You can see your menu on the smartphone and place your order remotely or summon a waiter to give you a better explanation of the meal choices. Now the wait staff can be very organized and more of an information giver. They could place the order for you or you could order yourself. Remember those times where you can’t catch the eye of the waiter to order another beverage or a refill of the water or some more bread. Now you can order it and it just appears with a smiling wait staff thanking you for the additional order. Then when done with the meal you review the total on your smartphone authorize payment and leave the restaurant all without another transaction but a thank you from the staff and proprietor.
Or how about an easier one you go to a grocery store. You place your items directly into bags to leave the store in your shopping cart. You finish getting what you want hit the check out button on the smartphone and it asks for authorization from your cloud wallet. You agree and just proceed out the door with the bags. No putting things on a checkout line belt and having someone scan a bar code or weighing the produce (which you do at the point of picking it up). No hassle no pulling out the credit card no waiting in a line to ring up the items. And the list of items gets sent to you electronically to put on a list of items that you might want to buy again. Perhaps even giving you a re-order form which puts the items together for you on your way to the store saving you a ton of time.
Now really looking into the future. Think about a NFC emitter that can be sewn into a clothing item that you provide. This emitter can trigger a bonus for the client to get a discount from you when it comes in close range at a check out stand for a grocery store sporting good store and anyone with whom you want to partner. They get a bonus you get a bonus in brand awareness from the client and you get more information on the right marketing approaches to your clients.
The future is coming.