It’s hard not to think that there is a gathering storm surrounding contactless payments. After years of trials, and some notable implementations, using your cell phone to make payments is getting closer to becoming a mass-market reality outside of Asia.
There are a couple of news item bearing that out. First, ABI Research has a new report which forecasts more than 419 million chipsets using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology will ship in 2012. ABI also is forecasting there will be about 300 million NFC handsets shipping in four years.
Then comes word from one of NFC’s biggest advocates, Nokia, that its investment arm, Nokia Growth Partners, has led a $38 million round of investments in the fabless chip company Inside Contactless. The chip company makes NFC chips using its MicroPass technology, which already is being used in trials in the United States in places like McDonald’s and 7-Eleven. Nokia also has invested in VivoTech, a California developer of NFC software and infrastructure, and is majority owner in Venyon, which is developing a service that banks and carriers can use to manage NFC transactions.
NFC will have its own space at next week’s CES show in Las Vegas. The NFC Zone includes exhibits by Innovision, Inside Contactless, Nokia, NXP, Parrot, SCM Microsystems, Toppan Forms and Visa.