- Written by Nathan Drake
So according to In-Stat, a company which, to my surprise as much as yours, compiles and publishes statistics, has stated that 1.2 billion near field communication chips will be shipped in the year 2015. Now, this isn’t an article in which I debate that prediction. I have a friend who compiles and analyzes statistics for a living. He’s much smarter than I am and I imagine the people who put together these statistics are too. What I want to make clear in this article is how I think those 1.2 billion NFC codes are going to be used, and it isn’t in the way a lot of people are predicting.
Pick out 5 NFC blogs and at least 3 of them will tell you that the way you pay for your coffee will be fundamentally different in the year 2013 than in 2012, and if you buy your coffee at Starbucks on Rodeo Dr. they might be right. For the vast majority of us, however, I think they are dead wrong. The readers for NFC devices are expensive and so while I think before the decade lets out NFC will be everywhere, I think these people are a bit premature on their evaluations.
So where are these 1.2 billion NFC chips going, if not to allow for an easier checkout at the register? Two places, advertising and smartphones.
Think about it. NFC chips are already much cheaper than they were when they came out, and they can carry more and more information as technology becomes ever smaller. This means that it will be more cost effective for companies to invest in putting NFC chips into their advertisements as ways for people to learn more and receive discounts. So movie posters, business cards, stickers etc will be enabled with NFC chips to an increasing extent as the technology becomes more affordable.
Second, and for the immediate future (I think) more importantly, they will be going into smartphones. Unlike advertisement, smartphones need to have both the chip and the reader, and phone companies are already beginning to see the advantage of putting NFC chips into the phones… namely… they can charge more for them. People were pretty surprised when Apple’s iPhone 4S didn’t come with NFC capabilities, and while I won’t get into my rant on how, other than an annoying little personal assistant the iPhone 4S didn’t come with anything, this tells me one thing. People want NFC, and I don’t think most people really understand yet why.
From what I can tell reading blogs and forums, people are looking forward to the day they will be able to pay for their purchases with their phones. I put this desire just barely above looking forward to the day we all get to work on jet packs. Paying for things on a regular basis with your phone is still a little ways away, and once people realize this they will find a new way to utilize the technology they paid for… social media. They will begin sharing pictures, information and the like simply by touching their phones together, and this will be more than just a novelty thing… it will be another way in which we share our lives.