Author: Rahul Kaul, Manager, Presales & Support, P&G Global
With the advent of smartphones, 3G/4G technologies, and the trend shift from traditional brick and mortar to brick and click business models, it is not a surprise that "Mobile Commerce" is touted to be the next wave. Mobile phone manufacturers are planning to launch devices that enable these transactions, industry standards are being drafted to make this happen and there are new applications being launched everyday by zealous entrepreneurs looking to cash in on the impending boom.
The rise of the smartphone—a highly sophisticated and complex device—has forced some mobile phone makers to abandon the vertically integrated business model that has long dominated the handset industry. The shift stems from the increasing reliance on operating systems (OS) and chipsets developed by third parties—for example, the Android OS in a Motorola phone. This reliance could give software and semiconductor companies the power to dictate mobile phone development in the same way that the so-called Wintel platform forged by Microsoft and Intel has shaped the personal computer (PC) sector. If that happens, the danger for device makers is that they will end up competing solely on price and profit margins, and the mobile phone industry will fall inexorably toward the razor-thin levels that prevail among PC manufacturers.
The cloud plays a decisive role. Apparently, Apple has a lead with iCloud, but Amazon, Google, and Microsoft with Nokia are also gearing up.
The technology to provide these is still evolving and currently inadequate to meet all of the above wish list. And this is where new technologies like Near Field Communication (NFC) are evolving. The next killer app is most likely solutions that leverage this technology. From payment solutions to stores pushing coupons to customers who are inside the store, from paying for tickets to obtaining passes to events, NFC is likely to revolutionize the way we buy and make payments. The list of possible applications of this technology in the retail industry seems endless.
Given this scenario, where is the enterprise applications space heading? Are ERP vendors looking to adopt this new trend and provide features that retailers and other organizations utilize to better reach out to their customers? It appears that they are already on this path.
The major impact of this technology will be for the industries including banking, travel & tourism, retail and automobile. The technology has the potential for service providers to develop innovative solutions that would previously not have been possible with other competitive technologies like Bluetooth. Most enterprises would invest in this technology, as it can be a game changer and get immediate benefits with more and more consumers using their smartphones as a convenient way to handle their finances. Many sectors, including banking, have been forced to ride this new mobile wave where smartphone customers are looking for financial management tools, bill payment and reward programs on the go. With such trends, it is imperative for the banking sector to develop mobile strategies with the latest technology enablers to satisfy their customer needs, and NFC currently perfectly fits this bill.
With intense competition in IT services companies to grab market share, the company that focuses on a specific domain of its expertise and provides a focused application to target that space is more likely to succeed than companies that focus on multiple domains with a general application set. Setting up dedicated NFC labs, along with proprietary frameworks with inbuilt experience embedded to tackle a specific problem of a domain, can help to rapidly get new customers in the NFC space.
Are you using NFC?