NFC Forum Members Discuss COVID-19, Contactless Lifestyle, NFC Beyond Payments

The ongoing pandemic is dominating the collective consciousness of the world so it was no surprise that this issue was addressed at the recent NFC Forum Member Meeting. A panel of NFC Forum Members discussed new approaches in the market and their recent innovative NFC products developed in response to the needs created by the coronavirus outbreak. The panel was moderated by NFC Forum Executive Director Mike McCamon and included:

  • David Rogers, Marketing Manager, Blue Bite
  • Dr. Manfred Mueller, Identiv COO and GM, Identity
  • Sylvia Kaiser-kershaw, Global Marketing – Smart Products and Services, NXP
  • Alastair Hanlon, CCO PragmatIC
  • Amir Khoshniyati, NFC Business Lead, Smartrac – an Avery Dennison company
  • Michael Sher, CEO, TAPWOW

After short presentations on the innovative NFC-enabled products the companies developed in response to the pandemic each panelist was asked to respond to this question:

Many of the “first responder” solutions in response to the pandemic have been healthcare-related. Looking to the future, what does your organization have planned for additional uses for NFC so that we can better live the contactless lifestyle?

Here’s what the panel had to say:

David Rogers, Marketing Manager, Blue Bite

What we’re seeing is an acceleration of what was already in place. NFC was already growing, particularly with contactless payment. The use cases we’re seeing today are very specific to COVID-19, but they are another factor helping both brands and consumers to become accustomed to scanning and tapping. This sets the stage for even more growth in NFC-enabled solutions beyond payments.

Dr. Manfred Mueller, Identiv COO and GM, Identity

The COVID-19 situation hasn’t caused us to change our strategy; our strategy was laid out years ago and we are planning towards that. The COVID-19 situation simply has amplified things, and has pulled some use cases to the surface. The fact that the very low and unobtrusive manner and weight of our NFC technology is being brought to the public’s attention will help to substantially increase the rate of adoption for contactless schemes beyond payments.

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Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw, Global Marketing NFC Smart Products & Services, NXP

NFC is penetrating many more sectors beyond payment such as IoT, retail, medical, government and security industries. This is a trend toward more intelligent and active products, and contactless is the catalyst for these intensified tapping behaviors by consumers. According to a recent ABI Research, about 50% of consumers using contactless payments also used contactless technology for connected consumer products. At NXP we see an increasing demand for advanced NFC silicon chip capabilities such as dynamic security mechanisms, on-device data storage, opening status awareness or ambient condition sensing . Such features clearly differentiate NFC from static triggers like QR codes. In addition, NFC contactless technology enables the next level of personalization, empowering tailored user experiences, intelligent on-demand services as well as instant feedback loops between the consumer and the manufacturer.

Alastair Hanlon, CCO PragmatIC

The pandemic is shifting us to a contactless culture where every time anyone touches anything they will be thinking about the coronavirus. Any opportunity to not touch something is going to be taken. So, for example, we’ll be using more disposable items – cups, cutlery in restaurants, etc. — to limit infection. NFC plays an important role here as, in conjunction with tags, it can be used to confirm that items were sterilized in the correct manner or relay instructions on how to dispose of something in the most environmentally-friendly way. And the best way to do that is probably with a mobile phone. The way we do most everything is going to change and NFC will be involved in this shift.

Amir Khoshniyati, NFC Business Lead, Smartrac – an Avery Dennison company

As we move up capability ladders, NFC and contactless gives us the opportunity to start working horizontally. As we move up capability ladders, contactless gives us the opportunity to become more innovative and react faster to customer demand. And from a tag provider perspective, we have the opportunity to be become very innovative with the types of tags provided to make sure that these types of reads are efficient and there’s no interference. This is a chance to start building out more types of high runner skews and other tags the community can benefit from.

Michael Sher, CEO, TAPWOW

I think compliance in the supply chain is going to drive optimizations and surface various visibilities where NFC will play an important role. Intermediaries are relying on certain parts of a business in terms of distribution and I think you will see a movement towards bringing those types of things in-house along with the ability to be able to audit it all through the consumer tap. This will lead to a number of new dimensions of not only “where did your product come from” and “how does your products get screened and recycled” but also, we will have an added human element of “who’s touched the product” and “who’s interacted with it within the supply chain.”

To learn more, watch the NFC Innovation In The Age Of The Coronavirus Webinar by clicking here.