NFC Mobile Wallet and Incoming WIMA-USA Conference

A friend called me from an AT&T store. “Hi. I want to buy a phone that does Google wallet, and I can’t get a straight answer from the sales person.” Apparently it is very confusing for consumers to know their options in selecting a phone that works with mobile wallet. Here is some information on this topic for curious minds.

Google wallet uses NFC technology. This is how it work.

  • User owns an NFC enabled Android phone.
  • User downloads a mobile wallet app from Google Play, an app store, to their phone.
  • User launches the app and enters credit card information to it.
  • User uses the phone to pay bills at stores that have NFC readers available.

Google wallet was released in 2011. The mobile phones sold in Verizon and T-mobile stores don’t support it because Verizon, T-mobile, and AT&T all invested into ISIS, a mobile wallet joint venture. ISIS was in trial in Salt Lake City and Austin in 2012 and will be rolled out nationally sometime in the near future. If you are interested in these topics, you might want to consider attending the WIMA-USA conference.

WIMA-USA NFC & Proximity Solutions conference will be held in San Francisco on Oct 28-30th. The conference will have a rich conversation about contactless communication including NFC, Bluetooth, and QR code. An Early Bird 20% discount on the Full Access Pass (1or 2 days) is available until September 13th using code: EBUS13.

This is the 3rd WIMA conference in USA and you can read about my WIMA NFC 2012 conference experience here.

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Big Data and NFC Mobile Payment

Today, while I was finishing an online purchase, a window popped up on my screen to ask if I wanted a free purchase protection service from Google. (See screen shot at the end of the blog)

If I were regular online shopper, I might think, “How nice, why not to take advantage of the free protection?” However, being into Big Data, I see this as a smart attempt on behalf of Google to collect data. Currently Google collects a lot of information about their customers using Google search, Gmail, Google docs, maps and calendar. Offering free purchase protection gives them the opportunity to further develop their big data analysis by collecting information on online purchase.

In its recent blog, Google said if any information is stored in Google+, Gmail,  or Google calendar, it can instantly accessible through voice search. This information, which will be secured through encryption, includes information on flights, reservations, purchases, plans, and photos. This is how transparent our life. The more data we provide to a service provider, the more they can make our life easier. The cost, however, is that we have less privacy. For example, A Wall Street Journal article titled “NSA Reaches Deep Into U.S. To Spy on Net” reported yesterday that NSA systems have the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all US internet traffic.

When NFC mobile payment takes off, telecoms will own mobile purchase information. That data will enable them to understand their customers better. If I were a leader in the telecom industry, I would want to obtain clarity about what consumer mobile purchase data means to the bottom line of my business, to the lives of my consumers and to the whole ecosystem in order to generate the business intelligence that benefits all.

In the article “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Big Data”, the author pointed out ” We have a long way to go to get rid of the mindset that data is all about marketing and advertising.” I trust innovation comes from this kind of awareness, sharing and discussion. What do you think?

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Develop an NFC Strategy Through Observing Cloud Adoption Trends

NFC pioneers in the US have questions about the adoption rate of the technology and the partnership opportunities in the ecosystem.

The adoption trends of Cloud Computing perhaps provide some insight on this inquiry. Amazon started to offer Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006, Google added Google Docs to its Gmail offering in 2007, Microsoft launched Azure in 2009, and Apple announced iCloud in 2011.

James Staten of Forrester Research, shared recent trends from a survey on Cloud developers at the  RightScale Compute 2013 conference. The first trend is that developers seem to be lacking in experience with Cloud. The survey revealed that only 30% of developers had hands-on experience with the Cloud. Given the number of consumers utilizing the Cloud, this low percentage is surprising to me. For example, my laptop offers Acer Cloud, my iPad synchronizes with my iPhone through iCloud, and my Google calendar is in Google Cloud. Because these and other Cloud products are becoming more widely utilized, one can assume that a high percentage of the developers are using Cloud products. What could motivate these developers to create Cloud-based apps?

Another trend points to smaller organizations as leaders in Cloud innovation. The survey revealed that less than a quarter of Cloud developers are working for large enterprises. Finally the demographic of the survey itself revealed a trend that US’s adoption seems to lag behind that of other countries. Only a quarter of Cloud developers are in the US; the others are in Asia and Europe.

What can this tell us about NFC? A brief history shows some of the parallels. The first NFC enabled mobile phone was released by Nokia in 2006. Since then, quite a few NFC-enabled phones have come on the market, followed by the introduction of NFC-enabled tablets in 2012 and 2013. Asia and Europe have had a higher adoption rate of NFC, while in the US, consumers are not taking full advantage of the capability.

If you are one of the NFC pioneers in the US, will working with large enterprises present a good opportunity? Where can you make an impact as an educator of the technology? “What do we need to do together to make this work” as asked by James Staten.

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NFC in Action

I was browsing YouTube and found a few interesting demonstrations the uses of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.  

NFC for Beginners by GeekBlogTV demonstrates how to use an NFC phone to communicate with tags that are programmed for specific functions. The demo uses an app (NFC Task Launcher) from GooglePlay to program tags in order to perform designated tasks.

Android Home Automation Demo | Voice + NFC demonstrates two technologies: one for speech recognition and one for NFC. Armando Ferreira places NFC tags in different areas and appliances in his house. When tags are requested to perform tasks by an NFC phone, the hands-off automation is demonstrated.

Android provides an NFC framework for app developers to develop NFC mobile apps. NFC Basics  describes the Android framework APIs that support NFC features. For example, the Android app NFC Task Launcher, such as the one used by GeekBlogTV, was developed with Android framework APIs (Application Programming Interface).

The Windows phone Proximity API provides support for NFC communication. In this YouTube video Lumia App Labs #8 – Developing NFC apps in Windows Phone 8, Andreas Jakl demonstrates how one can use Proximity API in a mobile app to communicate with NFC tags and create unique application-launch tags.