NFC: How Your Business Can Benefit

By Joe Marcallini
Originally published on Mobile Marketing Watch, August 8, 2011

The following is a guest post from Joe Marcallini, Vice President of Internet Strategy for SteadyRain.

Near Field Communication (NFC) has been a popular topic lately.  NFC is not a new technology, but it is new to most of the general public.  The primary premise of this technology is to allow users with compatible devices, such as smartphones, the ability to tap a similar device and transfer funds, files or specific data.  While this may not sound exciting, it is a huge step forward for mobile technology.  It is important to understand NFC technology and its many uses; it could benefit your business now and in the future.
 
Companies such as MasterCard and Google have jumped on the bandwagon with both feet.  For example, a new application called Google Wallet was announced.  This application will allow you to check out at retail stores by simply tapping your phone on a device that will accept your funds for goods or services.  The application on your smartphone will be connected to your account with MasterCard.
 
  • Check into a local establishment with much greater accuracy, as current GPS readings are not always correct.  This will allow establishments the ability to provide coupons and be sure the visitor has entered their store.  Once a coupon is redeemed, the user can also purchase in the store with their NFC compatible device.
  • Restaurants can provide checkout services that allow multiple parties to purchase and add tips after a meal.  This will speed up the process for the patron as well as waiters and waitresses.
  • Travel and Mass Transit can utilize NFC for Passenger and Baggage Check-In for increased efficiency as well as Boarding and Luggage recovery.  For example, should a piece of your luggage get lost, use a kiosk to locate it instead of waiting in lines to speak to an attendant.
  • Vending machines will allow you to tap your phone and purchase a soda.
While there can be many uses for NFC technology, it is important to understand the benefits.
 
NFC is a very simple technology that anyone can use, and will soon be available to most smartphone users.  NFC utilizes a chip that can be embedded on SIM Cards, Micro SD Cards or on the phone unit itself.
 
NFC will provide for more efficient and timely customer service.  Reporting on the data the users are providing will instantaneously allow businesses to track and view results of various campaigns in real time.  When a customer checks into your establishment, redeems a coupon and purchases the discounted product or service, the business will immediately know the path and trend for that customer.
 
For the customer, NFC will allow them to redeem coupons, archive receipts, build on various loyalty programs such as check-ins, redeem gift cards/certificates and connect to their existing credit card accounts.  All of these options will bring great value to the end user and provide a much more efficient way to purchase products and services.  These factors help aid in the technological transition to NFC as many will be skeptical in the beginning.
 
Over time, technologies such as NFC and “mobile wallets” will continue to progress and act as prominent payment methodologies in our daily lives.  Security will always be an issue and pose as the primary threat to future adoption.  However, as these mobile technologies grow, the security measures that help protect your valuable assets will strengthen.  Security for mobile is no different for security for web; it will be an ongoing battle.  However, NFC lends itself to a more secure environment.
 
It’s important to understand and acknowledge the concerns associated with emerging mobile technologies, such as NFC. However, as mobile continues to be a leading field for technological innovations, the public can be assured that the proper care and dedication will go into making sure these advancements are safe for the consumer and a benefit to business. Early adopters of NFC are already witnessing the benefits of this type of mobile technology. As the field continues to grow, your role as a consumer and as a business will also bear witness to these benefits.
 
About SteadyRain
SteadyRain is a privately held, St. Louis-based Internet strategy, web design and development firm that works closely with each of its clients to develop unique and profitable Internet strategies through website development, online marketing, e-commerce, database integration, and mobile development. Since 1999, SteadyRain has been helping businesses and organizations develop their online strategies, increase revenue and decrease costs. For more information about SteadyRain, please visit www.steadyrain.com.