One bit of technology that has been all the craze lately is Near Field Communication – NFC. The casual user mostly likely has come in contact with it in the form of contactless keycards, bonus cards and even some credit cards (think Visa PayWave). A logical extension of that is integrating such technology into a device most of the people have with 99% of the time when they go out – the mobile phone.
But what if the phone doesn’t yet have NFC built-in, as is the case with an iPhone for example? Well, easy! Just put it in a case, which exactly is what Visa- in partnership with DeviceFidelity – has recently announced. The protective case will be equipped with a secure memory card (mirco SD) that will the host the PayWave application, making paying as easy as waving the iPhone over the Visa terminal. While this has the downside of requiring you to hide your beautiful iPhone in a case, a major selling point is a lot of the businesses have already upgraded their terminals to accept such payments.
But why limit to simply paying for goods? It’s time to think bigger! I don’t know about you, but the stuff that accounts for a significant chunk of the weight of my wallet are the various bonus cards. Well, if we take a solution like Alcatel-Lucent’s Mobile Wallet – we can, in theory at least, replace not just cash and credit cards, but all the various bonus cards with an NFC equipped device as well! And there is even no need for a case – the Mobile Wallet solution can be intergrated in a thin sticker for non NFC-equipped devices. And this offers amazing possibilities, from waving a phone by a billboard to get a discount coupon for a product to not requiring any keys for the house or the office. The iPhone will in essence become a magical device that does it all. Then there truly be “an app for that”.
Apparently Apple has caught on to the craze as well and has been seen filing a patent for such a solution code-named Transaction. Seen as part of larger system called «Concert Ticket +» the patent doesn’t go too deep in the hardware side, focusing instead on the software solution around the concept. But seeing that the NFC technology is also mentioned a few times it would seem reasonable to expect iPhone 5G or even the soon-to-be-unveiled 4G to be NFC equipped.