The mobile payment market is very competitive. However, the very necessary technique of Near Field Communication (NFC) has not arrived in the mass market yet. Banks, internet and mobile communications enterprises work intensively, but on different solutions. Recently, the Korean producer Samsung proposed a solution with TecTiles , in order to get the clients enthusiastic about the NFC-functions of the new Android flagship Galaxy S3. At the present moment, five NFC stickers can be bought in the USA for 15 US$. Whether and when the TecTiles will come to Germany has not been stated yet.
The TecTiles stickers can be programmed by the client through an app. Then, with just one touch, they automatically trigger certain recurring actions: if one gets in the car, for example, and holds the mobile by the sticker, then Bluetooth, GPS and Google Maps will be activated. If the smartphone is held by the sticker while entering the office, it will go to silent mode and create a WLAN-connection. In the evening, the smartphone can be automatically set on silent mode, WLAN and Bluetooth will be deactivated and the alarm will be set forth next morning. Mobile payment does not function via stickers yet.
Interesting scenarios are opening up for enterprises and brands: for instance, advertising at the point of sale. Users could easily do a foursquare-check in a store via NFC-Sticker, or become fans on Facebook. This way, they could receive a discount from that store and in turn receive further information through the social media channels.
The TecTiles are therefore similar in their functionality to the Xperia Smart Tags from Sony or the Tag+-Stickers from LG. Here, tags which have wireless communication with the smartphone through NFC are also being used.
Conclusion: An interesting concept with potential. Samsung, Sony and LG are wonderfully illustrating the wide range of possibilities in the use of NFC technology, which can do much more than just mobile payment. This could also be the first step towards actually bringing NFC to the users’ everyday life. Nevertheless, in order to realise the much desired breakthrough in the mass market, this concept still requires a wider spreading of NFC-capable mobile phones. Which, at the moment, is not yet there.