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Smartphones for all! Is NFC the next wave?

Published on  20 May by Nigel Pickford , Director of Market Insight, SITA
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As extraordinary as the rise of the mobile phone has been in our everyday lives, the move this has sparked from voice to data for personal communications is, arguably, even more extraordinary.

I'm sure Neil Papworth, who sent the first text message on 3 December 1992 (a brief "Merry Christmas" to a colleague), never envisioned that two decades later over 10 trillion text messages would be sent every year - that's four per day for every person on the planet. In fact, nowadays, more people prefer to use messaging than to speak to each other.

And now, near field communications (NFC) technology promises to drive a new wave of change to enhance the usefulness and usability of smartphones.

Helping transform them into wallets, keys and security passes, NFC enables smartphones to hold credit cards, boarding passes and identity information - all electronically. And because NFC is short-range and supports encryption, security is a given.

It's just a matter of time before NFC becomes part of our day-to-day lives - just as mobile phones have. Most new Android smartphones have NFC built in. In 2012, about 100 million mobiles in circulation were NFC-enabled. By the end of this year, that figure will have tripled. By 2017, it could reach two billion.

By then, the use of NFC by retailers - including airports and airlines - could well be ubiquitous. And then we'll be talking about the new 'Next New Wave'.

To learn more about NFC and its use in the air transport industry, don't miss this year's Air Transport IT Summit, where we devote an entire Industry Insight Session to the mobile explosion.

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