Google announced yesterday that it has joined the NFC Forum, an organization committed to tackling standards and technological hurdles associated with near field communications (NFC).
The announcement comes just weeks after CTIA Wireless highlighted the technology, with experts saying that contactless mobile-based payments and transactions are on the brink of becoming a reality in 2011. Already most major OEMs have announced plans to begin embedding NFC-capable chips in their mobile phones.
The technology is probably helped by the Summer Olympic Games coming to London in 2012. The 2008 Olympic Games, which were held in Beijing, China, put NFC on the map with largely successful mobile ticketing and payment trials. Yesterday Samsung and Visa announced that they would be bringing NFC mobile payment solutions to London for the 2012 games.
Forrester Research recently published numbers that show 12 percent of U.S. adults and 6 percent of European adults have already made a mobile transaction. But, according to analyst Thomas Husson in his new blog post, “adding new players and technologies such as NFC to an already complex and evolving value chain is a recipe for disruption in many forms,” especially as new entrants expand into mobile payments, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, and new partnerships form to offer mobile payment options.
And while the hype surrounding the technology has been just that for a number of years, it appears things really are reaching a tipping point. Most agree that it will be a few years before mobile payments see mass adoption, but simpler solutions, such as touching one’s phone to a movie poster to see a trailer, will familiarize consumers with the technology.
Husson says the 2012 Olympics will be a “massive showcase” of contactless mobile payments but adds that true cross-market expansion and interoperability will not likely happen before 2013-2015.
Husson explains in his blog post: “This disruption will be slow to occur. Why? Because: 1) vendors and providers will need to create consumer demand, which is currently nonexistent; 2) merchants will also require significant motivation; and 3) stakeholders will need time to iron out business-model problems.”