BlackBerry’s EMEA director of enterprise marketing Tim Hodkinson told Marketing Week earlier this month that “2012 will be the year of NFC”, the contactless technology that allows users to pay for goods and receive and swap content with their mobiles. Indeed, almost ever BlackBerry device launched next year will have NFC technology built in as standard, with many other manufacturers such as Samsung and Nokia following suit.
On the operator side, O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere have formed a joint venture to create a standardised platform for NFC payment and related brand marketing. The three are also now thought to be close to launching the JV and are reportedly ready to submit their proposal for clearance to the European regulators next month, they are searching for a CEO for the venture and are even welcoming Three into the equation.
Beyond the JV, brands like Starbucks, Google and Simply Tap have also launched their own payment systems to reduce the need for customers to root around in their pockets for loose change ever again.
Forrester Research predicts that mobile commerce will reach $31bn globally by 2016, but this forecast will be dramatically expanded if the mobile manufacturers, operators and payment providers manage to keep true to their promises and build a standardised platform for the mobile wallet next year.
Mass adoption of the mobile wallet offers brands the chance to be right at the heart of consumers’ purchase decisions, whether it be through loyalty schemes, price comparison services or display ads that can be tailored to users’ shopping habits.
There are more than 50,000 swipe and pay terminals already installed in the UK, 2012 may well be the year these tills actually start ringing (metaphorically of course).
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