A senior Transport for London executive says the read-speed of NFC-enabled mobile devices is too slow for practical use on the capital's transit network.
There's only one problem with this story, Japan has been using NFC technology in the same applications (trains/buses) since 2004 with much higher volumes and has had no issues with read speed.
It sounds like the problem is not NFC, but the UK implementation.
By the same token, Japan has been running its trains and buses flawlessly for several decades, without closing down half its services for maintenance every weekend. Just as TfL can't get Japan's train and bus systems, it has to make do with the implementation
of NFC that's available in the UK. To be fair to TfL, having done a fantastic job with Oyster contactless cards - I do love the way they work reliably even when they're not taken out from my wallet - I can very well understand its reluctance to jump into NFC.
Apart from slow read speeds - at least in the UK implemenation - NFC means I've to take out my smartphone, select the appropriate app, fire it up and wait till it's ready. These are time-consuming and friction-filled steps that I can be spared. NFC is not
just a solution chasing for a problem but something that introduces problems of its own that are absent with the status quo.
Possibly the UK system is so long extant it may have particular issues due to that, physical ones.
I did find other issues with NFC, the added infrastructure is immense, if buses, trains, ferries, perhaps even cabs & aircraft etc are all to use the same system, it gets pretty clunky & if your system gets compromised you may have to replace masses of equipment
as well as cards. I know they say 'upgradable', but it doesn't always translate into practicality.
There are better ways. One might not include building a network of infrastructure & devices:)
© Finextra Research 2013