We are perched on the brink of another technology revolution. It is no longer a question of ‘if’ NFC will transform the role mobile devices play in driving opportunity and efficiency for businesses while simultaneously enriching consumer experiences – it is a question of ‘when’.
Mobile devices are increasingly the ticket to a connected world for millions of people. Last year, mobile devices overtook the number of people on earth. By 2017 there will be 10 billion mobile devices – 31% more than the projected world population, according to research commissioned by Cisco Systems.
During this time, the global NFC market is also anticipated to expand, growing at 8.83 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to reach US $16.25 billion by 2022), according to research house ReporternReports.
The combination of rapid global mobile device expansion, increasing consumer expectations for anywhere, anytime connectivity and on-the-go convenience, and an increasingly active NFC market represent a significant opportunity for businesses in many industries. But how can businesses capitalise on the NFC opportunity?
NFC provides businesses with a crucial link to the consumer. Connectivity and integration between a business and its customers are improved by immediate communication – driving a richer consumer experience higher customer satisfaction and important additional revenue opportunities for business.
For example, NFC applied to white goods can allow customers to quickly register warranties. Cleverly, NFC can go a step further to let consumers buy spare parts at the wave of a device – adding convenience for consumers while driving increased consumable parts revenue and opportunities for targeted point of purchase marketing.
By integrating NFC capability into products, businesses also reduce costs. The need for touch displays and expensive Bluetooth or WiFi interfaces is eliminated, and zero power configuration and power harvesting options eliminate the need for batteries. The elimination of unnecessary components drives down the cost of materials and allows manufacturers to be more innovative with design and product aesthetics.
Manufacturers can also add convenience to products that require regular firmware updates. Today, consumers regularly need to use wires, cables, disks or other means to update firmware. With NXP manufacturers can enable convenient data download by using the tag chip as a modem – vastly simplifying what can be a frustrating, time consuming process.
In addition to lower costs and a richer consumer experience, NFC can help businesses drive consumer trust through increased security and privacy. By design, privacy and security are maximised in NFC – privacy is inherent in a protocol where consumer intent initiates communication and read distance is limited.
For many industries, counterfeiting, grey market diversion and distribution theft can be crippling. NFC can provide a cost efficient means of driving integrity into the supply chain – deterring our modern version of highway robbery. Manufacturers can deactivate electronic products via the NFC interface in the factory, with activation only possible upon point of sale authentication. For returns, NFC-enabled products provide identifying information that validates product authenticity, reducing fraudulent returns to the manufacturer.
The benefits to business are clear. NFC integration is a compelling way of reducing costs, creating new revenue streams, enriching the consumer experience and enhancing customer relationships.
With the increasing penetration of mobile devices and the accelerating opportunity provided by a maturing NFC market, NFC is at an exciting tipping point. The time is ripe for savvy businesses to adopt NFC and in doing so drive their own opportunities from the Internet of Things revolution.