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So, James Bond has a new NFC smart phone!

For most of the paying public, going to see the latest James Bond movie ‘Skyfall’ is laden with expectation of action car chases, fights on the wings of aeroplanes  - and of course gadgets!

And, for me, it’s the gadgets that get me every time. But for this film I have a professional interest because James Bond will be using an NFC-enabled mobile in the form of the new Sony Xperia T. Hurrah!

I must admit that product placement in blockbusters tends to annoy me a little, but when I settled down in my seat for Skyfall I wasn’t on the look out for the Rolex or the Aston Martin, it was the Sony Xperia T in its full NFC glory. I had spent too much time speculating how 007 might use it. Maybe he’d pay for a Martini at Geneva Airport by tapping his mobile on a payment terminal? Or maybe he’d download a file on a target from a bus shelter poster in Berlin? But with a heavy heart I have to report (plot spoiler alert) that he didn’t use NFC at all. I think Sony/007 might have missed a trick there.

But we don’t all have to be James Bond to own an NFC phone. In fact, I wager that most of us who have changed our smart phone in the last 9 months now have an NFC-enabled device and we don’t even know it. That’s because firstly, there has been little or no consumer advertising about NFC functionality on phones with the exceptions of Sony with its Xperia S and Samsung with its Galaxy SIII. Secondly, because when our R&D team at Proxama tested all the latest NFC-enabled smart phones, we found that in the vast majority of cases the NFC functionality was switched off. Madness! How are we going to get people interested in the benefits of NFC unless we actually let them know it’s on their phones?

It does seem that Sony is pretty much on it’s own in trailblazing NFC as a feature of its smart phones, so hats off to them. But we need the rest of the mobile industry to throw their hats into the ring and do a bit of promotion about the fact that they are shipping phones with NFC in them. It’s not as if they’re Apple, who have been shaken but not stirred by the thought of this new technology (sorry!), yet have consistently resisted putting NFC on their iPhones. For instance, the new Motorola Razr phones actually have NFC, but they don’t state this anywhere!

I think the odds that NFC will be a mainstream technology in a couple of years are much better than Mr Bond stacking his chips on red 36 at the roulette table. So come on all you manufacturers, you obviously believe in NFC because you have built it into your phones – it’s about time you started giving it some airtime.

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Comments: (4)

Matt Scott
Matt Scott - Fiserv Inc - London 30 October, 2012, 14:50Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Unfortunately consumers tend to switch lots of their devices functionality off - mainly to conserve precious battery cycles that tend to be consumed all too quickly with 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled.

 

I had assumed that the (N) logo would be prevalent on most mobile devices to “inform” / remind the user that NFC was available – but it would seem most manufacturers leave the symbol of the retail packaging and not on the device itself.

 

I think James Bond would have been a good way to promote the use of NFC for Card and Cash displacement – and yes – certainly an opportunity missed.  Still – it is not as if James Bond would be able to purchase much with the current Contactless Floor limits (£20 GBP if I recall correctly)?  Not exactly Aston Martin territory…

 

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 01 November, 2012, 15:48Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Quite frankly, making a payment is hardly an example of Bond-esque coolness, whether it's done with cash or NFC. Now, if someone came up with a way to use NFC to avoid making payments altogether - "it's our privilege to serve some people, they don't need to pay" - that would vault NFC into a different league and guarantee its entry into the Bond world. Just joking...

On second thoughts, not. Contactless plastic cards do come close to this vision of coolness: You can walk past a reader without taking out the card from your pocket or bag or wherever and the payment is still made, as I've done several times with Oyster Card. Onlookers can be dazed at how you can walk past payment terminals without paying when others with NFC mobiles fidget around with their smartphone, switch on NFC, fire up the mobile wallet app, choose the right card, hope for network coverage, and so forth.

On a more serious note, this is perhaps just another reminder of why mobile payments in general, and NFC based ones in particular, are solutions chasing a problem.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 04 November, 2012, 09:26Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Google itself seems to think so. Plastic Card + Offers could just be the spark that ignites widespread adoption of Google Wallet, which has hitherto had a lukewarm reception by being shackled to NFC mobiles.

http://gigaom.com/2012/11/01/is-google-looking-beyond-nfc-reportedly-prepping-plastic-wallet-cards

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 05 November, 2012, 14:47Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

How much I've got in my leather wallet is none of Google's or any other companies business (of course, they want to crank up their business ...). And I do prefer to deliberately put the card of my choice into a particular card reader's slot if I want to pay for something - rather than when being in a crowd becoming the victim of electronic pickpockets using NFC or some other technology ...

As it was already mentioned, there apparently is a very "cool" solution frantically looking for a matching problem. Probably without success, in particular as smartphones get nearer to market saturation.

It used to be great to wave a expensive status symbol under everybodies nose, showing off that the owner could not only afford to buy it, but is also clever enough to download some apps and operate those by fiddling with the touchscreen. But what to do now, as almost everybody in the industrialized world has such a fancy device too ? Migrating to some sub-Sahara country ?