The NFC Forum will be running a webcast tomorrow in an attempt to drum up interest in its annual competition, but the competition to NFC itself is attracting more interest. Near Field Communications continues to be a technology looking for a problem to solve, and the annual competitions aren't providing killer applications in …
"Works with almost all colour mobiles"
I like the idea though :/
Bar-code-specialists Masabi and Access IS?
I worked in the barcoding field for almost 10 years and I've never heard of them.
So *no* hardcopy needed at all.
It's not looking good for NFC. And if phones on cameras can read barcodes as well (as I think some of them can) that's the whole loop taken care of.
Amusingly, the proposals for national rail smart-cards also require customers to be given a paper counter-part to each journey sold to them on smartcard, so that they know what tickets they have, and what their seat reservation is, as the smart-card doesn't have a screen. (National Rail Smartcards are not like oyster; you have to configure and buy each ticket in advance, just like the paper tickets used now.)
The government regulator is forcing all new rail franchises to adopt this new ITSO smart card scheme at a projected cost of just shy of a billion pounds in the first year for set-up and operations, more than half of which goes to the smart-card scheme developers as licence, certification and consultancy fees (not hardware).
The DfT's own study shows that even if you ignore set-up costs, the ITSO smartcard scheme cost is vastly larger than the scheme benefits on rail, even if it is fully adopted by the public into regular everyday use. (£88M per year max benefit against £190M per year recurring costs: page 125 of
A great business for the ITSO developers, but is it value for money for the travelling public?
2-D barcodes for ticketing are not new. My rail line, Chiltern, has been using the same system for a couple of years now. Not that I have ever seen anyone use it, but clearly to be useful the technology will be working to very similar performances to the one shown in the video.
The author is missing a huge point about NFC though. 2-D barcodes are just a dumb image to be read, there is no 2-way interaction with the phone to an app or a remote server. NFC allows for a 2-way dialogue which permits a much richer functionality than barcodes could ever hope to achieve. However the big problem for NFC is not the tech, it is establishing the business case. NFC makers are having trouble convincing handset makers to incorporate them onto phone chipsets, because they cost money and telcos want to justify every penny that goes into a handset. At present telcos cannot see a case for spending money on NFC except in small cases like the Orange/Barclays payment card trial. Banks and transport companies don't want to commit because they cannot see an established base of NFC handsets that they can take advantage of. Classic chicken & egg.
NFC's 2-way dialogue
What kind of dialogue will a ticket gate have with an NFC card???
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