BlackBerry: ‘2012 will be the year of NFC’

BlackBerry is preparing to launch campaigns to educate consumers on the benefits of NFC as it predicts 2012 will be the year the technology becomes widely used by consumers and advertisers.


Tim Hodkinson, parent company RIM’s EMEA director of enterprise marketing, says due to the “maturity and volume” of a number of pilot schemes taking place between the different companies in the NFC ecosystem [mobile manufacturers, operators, advertisers and app developers] across the globe, the technology will see mass-adoption in the UK in a matter of months.

He adds: “You won’t have to wait until the end of 2012 to see major consumer payment providers and advertisers using NFC on a mass scale. The market has now seen a level of maturity where the entire ecosystem is developing really close relationships and innovating faster than ever before.”

Brands such as Starbucks have recently expressed their frustration at the slow rate of development of NFC technology and launched its own mobile app payment system in November rather than waiting for NFC to become mainstream.

BlackBerry is readying a series of educational campaigns for the new year with its partners, such as MasterCard, to inform users and business customers how they can benefit from using NFC technology.

“You will see cobranded activity with us and the mobile operators communicating how NFC can be used for things like payments and advertising, in the same way we did for QR code technology,” Hodkinson says.

Functions such as access to buildings or the ability to swap business cards and photos by tapping two phones together are ways that NFC technology is being developed and tested internally by BlackBerry.

BlackBerry already has two NFC-enabled smartphones available to buy: the Curve 9360 and the Bold 9900. Hodkinson says “most” of BlackBerry’s upcoming range of products, including both smartphones and tablets, will come with NFC as standard.

Rival handset manufacturer Samsung is also developing NFC phones and has partnered with Visa and Lloyds TSB to launch an NFC-enabled device for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Mobile operators Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and O2 formed a joint venture earlier this year to create a standardised platform and ad sales house for NFC-enabled payment.


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