NFC Expands Beyond Payments; Makes Big Impacts Across Industries with Handsets in the Market Reaching 1 Billion

NFC Expands Beyond Payments; Makes Big Impacts Across Industries with Handsets in the Market Reaching 1 Billion

News from the 2015 NFC Summit

Princeton Junction, N.J., October 13, 2015 – Mobile NFC technology has seen significant growth in the U.S. over the past year, with notable developments in payment and non-payment applications, customer experience and security, attendees learned at the 2015 NFC Solutions Summit. The NFC Solutions Summit, presented by the Smart Card Alliance in partnership with the NFC Forum, was held last week at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix.

Momentum in the Market

“We’ve seen a huge shift in NFC handsets available in the marketplace,” said Paula Hunter, executive director of the NFC Forum. Hunter reported that the number of handsets in the market today has reached 1 billion, and is expected to double by the end of 2016. “Knowing there are over a billion devices out there that can use NFC is a big improvement from where we were last year,” said Jeff Miles, vice president of mobile transactions at NXP Semiconductors.

Leon Majors, president of Phoenix Marketing International, shared recent qualitative findings that Millennials and Generation X are driving the mobile payments market. “This is going to happen. The debate is over how long it’s going to take.”

Security and Customer Experience

Speakers discussed the different approaches to security for payment and non-payment use cases, including ones based on the SIM or embedded secure element, Host Card Emulation (HCE) and Trusted Executive Environment (TEE), and discussed challenges of implementation.

Hervé Pierre, chairman of the board for the SIMalliance, said that “even if each technology has its own characteristics, in the future… we will have a hybrid solution that will benefit from each of these technologies.”

However security is implemented for NFC, consumers expect that their information and identities are secure. But according to Kevin Gillick, executive director of GlobalPlatform, a successful approach to security cannot slow down the consumer experience. Consumers are looking for that balance between convenience and security, Steve Mott, CEO of BetterBuyDesign said. NFC provides this balance.

“The difference between NFC and other contactless protocols is that the consumer controls their own experience,” said Hunter. “That’s how consumers can know they’re protected.”

NFC, the Jack of All Trades

While payments is one of the most talked about applications for NFC, many speakers highlighted that new opportunities and ways to use the technology are increasingly becoming a point of focus for the industry. In addition to the 2 billion NFC-enabled handsets projected to be in the market by the end of 2016, Miles estimates there will be more than 800 million non-phone NFC-enabled devices in 2018.

Other presenters noted opportunities across a variety of industries:

Transit—Both David deKozan, vice president of strategic industries at Cubic Transportation, and Mac Brown, director of communications at GlobeSherpa, identified NFC as a method to improve ticketing and payments, and also to connect riders to new information. “Transit agencies are looking for ways to enable riders to pay how they want, especially through using technologies that are in their pockets already,” said Brown.

With NFC, riders can pay for tickets, check balances, manage accounts, see detailed account history, and interact with integrated trip planning and nearby business or advertising information.

Identity— Erich Tompkins, lead project manager, AT&T Mobility, and Joe Cardinal, lead market development manager, AT&T Solutions Incubation and Emerging Technologies, shared how simplifying identity in hospitality can improve the consumer experience. “In hotels, you continually have to prove your identity—” checking in, at the restaurant, paying for Wi-Fi, and even room service, Tompkins said. Using a mobile phone to verify your identity can eliminate that and allow for a smoother, easier customer experience.

Access—In a case study presented by Steve Rogers, president of IQ Devices, Arizona State University piloted the use of mobile phones for students to access dorm buildings, offices and other secure campus locations. At the end of the pilot, 100 percent of the students said they would prefer to use their own mobile device to access buildings over a campus-issued card.

In another use case, Villanova rolled out mobile devices for access across campus. Currently, Villanova has more NFC-enabled doors across campus, and the more students and staff with NFC-enabled mobile devices than any other campus in the U.S.

Complementary Technologies: EMV and BLE

“2015 is the year of EMV, but it’s also the year of NFC as well,” Jason Oxman, CEO of the Electronic Transaction Association, said in reference to the ongoing U.S. migration to EMV chip technology. Phil Kumnik, SVP of global acquirer processing at Visa, says as EMV rolls out, manufacturers including NFC in the terminals is becoming “business as usual.”

Terminals capable of both chip transactions and NFC interactions provide a futureproof option for merchants so they won’t have to replace their terminals if they decide to enable their point of sale for NFC. “EMV migration is very important to NFC adoption and to the success of mobile payments,” said Oxman.

Rob Canterbury, director of regional marketing at NXP Semiconductors, identified Bluetooth (BLE) as another technology that, when paired with NFC, can reduce friction in customer experience in a wide variety of use cases and scenarios. John Rego, director of sales at OTI America, provided vending machines as an example. Rego explained how BLE can tell the customer what the vending machine has to offer and what the nutrition facts of each product are. The customer then uses NFC to securely pay for the product. After the transaction, there is then an opportunity for BLE to give the customer more information about the product, such as where to buy it in larger quantities, or if there are any sales going on nearby.

Later this year, the Smart Card Alliance will release a white paper focused on non-payment NFC use cases to provide further detail into this rapidly expanding ecosystem.

Interested in learning more about NFC technology? Visit

Next Conference

The Smart Card Alliance’s next event, the 2016 Payments Summit, will be held April 4-7, 2016 and will be newly located in Orlando, and collocated with the 2016 ICMA Expo. More information about the Payments Summit is available at

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology.

Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit


Megan Shamas
Montner Tech PR
[email protected]