Payment Via Smartphone, Coming to a Device Near You?
The VAR Guy does a lot of traveling, so his familiarity with mobile devices is a must. Equally important is traveling light, which is why The VAR Guy is intrigued by the prospect of near-field communication (NFC). You may know it more colloquially as “e-wallet” technology. Juniper Research (not to be confused with Juniper Networks) recently published a report noting that NFC will be in 1 in 5 smart phones by 2014. Does this mean The VAR Guy will be able to consolidate his wallet with his iPhone soon? Here’s what the forecast looks like …
The VAR Guy already loves using his iPhone to pay for his Starbucks addiction, so why not everything else? How much longer before Apple develops an NFC phone? The VAR Guy can’t say, but Juniper Research is predicting a target date of 2014. The research firm believes the end of 2012 will see a larger launch of NFC operating devices to handle the e-coupons, NFC payments and other types of digital marketing and payment making their way into Western Europe, North America and other developed regions, according to Juniper Research.
And while this capability has been common in Asia for a number of years now, the Western Hemisphere is slow to jump on the bandwagon. And although chatter grows around the idea of NFC making a home here in the United States and beyond — including rumors that Apple is considering adding NFC to its iPhone (and possibly other devices), The VAR Guy isn’t getting too excited about the possibility of NFC just yet. Juniper Research noted that some big names including Google and France Telecom Orange have been looking into the capabilities, the biggest hurdle seems to be in developing business model structures. Even The VAR Guy knows this can be a heavy boulder to move — how long did it take before companies saw managed services, with its monthly op-ex vs. one-time cap-ex pricing structure, as a viable business model?
The VAR Guy also thinks there may a barrier to adoption simply because it may be complicated for businesses to set up NFC payment systems. There also must be PCI-compliance issues, which The VAR Guy believes could spell real opportunity for those in the channel working with POS systems.
Juniper Research believes North America will account for half of all NFC smartphones in 2014, followed by Western Europe. It’s not too early for POS resellers to start thinking about the implications and start planning for the potential wave of demand.