Near Field Communications (NFC) describes a short-range, high frequency wireless technology that allows mobile devices to communicate directly to exchange data. This is key for a number of applications such as electronic keys, mobile payments, mobile ticketing, certain types of advertising, etc.
Near Field Communication World, a trade publication for NFC-related (near-field communication) products, just posted an article about Apple hiring Benjamin Vigier. Vigier is known as an expert in NFC, with time at Bouygues Telecom, Sandisk and mFoundry. At mFoundry, he oversaw development of Starbuck’s barcode reading application and much of PayPal’s mobile services.
In addition, Apple has been discussing possibilities for services such as “iPay”, “iBuy” and others, while at the same time filing numerous patents in the area. The patents seem to cover many areas including specific uses of mobile payments from mobile devices tied directly to iTunes, credit cards or banks, in the areas of airline ticketing, boarding passes, gaming, event ticketing and even lodging.
This is a good move for Apple, given the continued steady expansion of Google into payments which will continue through the adoption of Android. It should allow Apple to strengthen its position and take a proactive approach to the payments arena.
How will this affect many of the financial services and payment companies currently satisfying both broad and niche markets? It’s not a death blow by any means, but it is a signal to possible increased competition and the need to continue looking for ways to expand into new technologies and perhaps partner with other large players.