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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Report assesses microSD impact on NFC adoption

Saturday February 27 2010

Provides fresh insight into the role of the microSD card in the future of the NFC market   Management consultancy firm The Human Chain recently launched a report into the impact of microSD cards enabled with near-field communications (NFC) capability on contactless application adoption in March 2010.   The report, entitled NFC microSD card – Stepping Stone or Standard?, is authored by Dr Nick Spencer, senior consultant and Tim Jefferson, managing director of The Human Chain.  

Provides fresh insight into the role of the microSD card in the future of the NFC market

 

Management consultancy firm The Human Chain recently launched a report into the impact of microSD cards enabled with near-field communications (NFC) capability on contactless application adoption in March 2010.

 

The report, entitled NFC microSD card – Stepping Stone or Standard?, is authored by Dr Nick Spencer, senior consultant and Tim Jefferson, managing director of The Human Chain.

 

Their research – which was due to finalised during the GSMA Mobile World Congress which took place in Barcelona earlier this month – details the potential role of NFC-enabled microSD cards in driving the future development of the NFC market.

 

Halfway house or full functionality

 

“NFC-enabled microSD cards have the potential to offer full functionality, so we are exploring this in more detail in the report,” said Dr Spencer.

 

Trials of the technology have already demonstrated its basic technical viability, but there are still questions about how it will meet the needs of the developing NFC market.

 

“The rollout of NFC-based services has been hampered by the classic ‘chicken and egg’ situation faced by the mobile industry, that services can’t be launched on any commercial scale because there isn’t a suitable range of NFC-enabled mobile phones available,” continued Dr Spencer.

 

“As the challenges around the value chain – such as the role of the banks, card issuers, trusted service managers and mobile operators and the associated business cases – are being resolved, the next hurdles are the commercial launch of services and customer take-up. One has to bear in mind that the range of features, the size and the look and feel of the mobile phone itself are big factors in a consumer’s purchasing decision; arguably, the choice of network is secondary, assuming it can meet the requirements of coverage and quality of service.”

 

Awareness and availability conundrum

 

The Human Chain report makes the case for NFC capability to be integrated alongside the raft of other features that customers expect on mobile phones, such as multimedia functionality. But it also highlights the challenge of delivering it to a market where customers may be unaware of this nascent technology – or are unlikely to go out of their way to purchase an NFC-enabled phone until there is a sufficient spread of stable, attractive and easy-to-use services that make use of that capability.

 

“Handset suppliers need the assurance of demand before they will commit to the high development and deployment costs that can only be justified if the devices can be manufactured in sufficiently high volumes,” added Jefferson. “This certainly explains the delay in bringing a wide range of phones to the market, making the development of new opportunities slow and frustrating.”