by Miles Quitmann, md with Proxama
It’s telling that the absence of NFC on the new iPhone 5 hasn’t been much of a surprise to those of us who have observed Apple’s progress in this area. And Yes, it would have been great if Apple had included NFC; but is that really going to obstruct the march of NFC? We don’t think so. The vast investment in NFC mobile contactless payments and services is not going to wane. And with the NFC-enabled Android, Windows 8 and RIM handsets dominating the smartphone market are we going to see clear water emerge between them and the iPhone? NFC is going to progress at a pace without Apple. This could be Apple’s loss.Global brands such as MasterCard, Visa, Barclaycard, Orange and Google have committed, and will continue to commit millions of dollars on developing NFC capabilities.
With Apple’s eschewing of NFC, the other major brands now have a real opportunity to differentiate their offering and challenge the mantle for leadership in the innovation race.
Contactless terminals are being deployed across the retail industry as we speak in readiness for mobile contactless payments.
Apple’s Phil Schiller stated, “Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today”, clearly leaving the door wide open for when the NFC market has evolved further.
Apple is taking a different route with mobile contactless payments at the moment and that’s fine but it does mean that iPhone users will miss out on one of the other big benefits of NFC.
That is the ability to interact with marketing campaigns that use NFC tags embedded in posters and product packaging.
We believe that it will be this sort of activity that will initially drive the use and demand for NFC services before payments take off as mainstream.
But just because Apple deems it unnecessary to embed NFC, that isn’t going to entirely prevent iPhone users from having NFC access.
We have worked with Device Fidelity on its NFC iCaisse battery sleeve that will enable an iPhone to be able to interact with NFC marketing campaigns.
Miles has successfully grown and sold two venture-backed technology businesses and achieved an MBO in a third. Miles joined Proxama in June 2011. In the late 1990s, Miles completed a record breaking sailing and mountaineering adventure from Brighton to Antarctica and back, completing the 14,000 mile return journey single-handed. Miles delivered lectures across the UK that applied his experiences to the corporate world. Miles is also a Director of Antarctic Heritage Limited.