Near Field Communication: Is This The Next Big Thing in Wireless Industry?

Wireless industry has been the industry to watch out for some time now. Field totally driven by innovations, with companies fighting to hit the market with the latest technologies first. Starting with iPhone redefining the mobile experience to android drawing curtains on to the proprietary Operating Systems making the giant of the game to be looking to “jump the burning platform” and choosing another “sinking ship”(This is tough totally a different story.).

The battle has not just been on the OS front with OEMs too fighting for domination as Android (with exception of few) made it an even field for all of them, so be it the revolution of processer speeds, use of GPUs, innovation in display and touch technologies to revolutionizing the app space by adding more addictive and engaging apps.

Tough the industry has been driven by the innovation, something peculiar to the startups, with an exception of App space and our own Adam, startups have not made much buzz in this industry. One of the many reasons for this is the economies of scales required to make an impact in such as industry where most of the giants are putting in millions of dollars in innovation but all this seems to be changing with the NFC.

Near Field Communication has been the buzzword for a while now, especially since Android2.3 Gingerbread added support for it and with the announcement of Apple to support the technology in its next generation iPhone. The technology is not revolutionizing, but the impact is far reaching and can make a revolution at least in India like countries where mobile has made an impact in the areas where even the basic infrastructure like roads and electricity are still to make inroads. NFC_touch_interactions

Quoting WikipediaNear field communication, or NFC, is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less.”

The technology works on the concept of powering the target the passive device with the electromagnetic field of the active device (Reminds of the freshmen or sophomore year of engineering degree.) somewhat similar to the technology being used in smartcards being used by all of us while travelling in metros(if you are from NCRs) or punch cards at office. Adoption of this technology has opened the plethora of opportunities for new ventures to develop the software, hardware in the form of dongles to be used at the seller’s end, application of technology into new domains and meeting the challenges posed by the technology mainly into the security domain.

Applications involves Mobile Wallet, mobile ticketing, as an ID, as keys, passive advertising, list is endless and opportunities immense. There will always be a need to tap the vendor side opportunities and to develop applications that can use this technology to make this technology successful in real sense and this is where new ventures can play a big role. India is already looking for such solutions with government looking for better way of disbursing subsidies, banks looking to tap rural markets and overall desire to reduce the cost of flow of money through the system and many more. What makes this look as a possible solution is high penetration of mobile phone and reducing costs of devices courtesy the likes of Lava, Micromax etc to such an extent that last year’s smartphones can be entry level segment pretty soon, 3G revolution which will make EDGE and GPRS nearly a free bundle with the phone connection and low cost of adoption of technology.

So concluding the long article, there is a big opportunity to be spotted and worked upon. There are challenges to be worked on, importantly in the field of security and making cheap turnstiles for easy adoption of technology, challenges which always have brought best out of entrepreneurs.

Signing Off!!!

P.S.: A Public, platform independent is freely distributed under GNU Lesser General Public License by the name libnfc to start the basic work.

What’s your opinion?

[Guest article contributed by Kushal Arora, who earlier contributed an article on Entrepreneurship and the Great Indian Tamasha.]

Recommended Read: Broadband Wireless Access(BWA) – Answer to Poor broadband penetration in India?

Related Market Report: Mobile Internet Trends for 2011–SoLoMo [Social, Local & Mobile]

[img credit: wikipedia]

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