NFC or QR codes
A few months ago we wrote that it seemed QR codes had come to life just in time to get killed off by NFC. Now at the start of 2012 it looks like this may have been a bad call.
Those lucky enough to be at CES recently reported that NFC was nowhere to be found. Moreover QR codes are becoming ever more frequently used by brands in advertising and marketing campaigns. (some very very badly it has to be said)
So why hasn’t NFC taken off, after all it’s a great simple technology, useful for a whole range of mobile applications – as a discovery method for content. for micro payments for real world goods, for tracking people through busy spots like airports and so on. And maybe that’s part of the problem, NFC hasn’t found a killer use, everybody thinks it will be payments but that space is crowded, complicated and fraught with multiple players with competing agendas.
It may have been content discovery, Nokia did some good work here, with its NFC Hub (http://www.nfc-hub.com/) but then went and released its most promising range of smart phones without NFC.
And actually there is another problem, lack of devices. NFC is not like a QR code reader it can’t, sensibly, be installed post purchase. Few manufacturers boast a top or middle range device with built in NFC (and those that do don’t shout about it)
So we’re left with a nice technology that’s all dressed up with no where to go. No consumer demand for the coolest new thing, no big marketing budget pushing it down our throats whether we want it or not.
What next for NFC?