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Switch on NFC, unlike James Bond

For me, in a James Bond film, the gadgets get me every time. However, for the latest 007 instalment, Skyfall, I had a professional interest because James Bond will be using an NFC-enabled mobile.
I must admit that product placement in blockbusters tends to annoy me a little, but when I settled down in my seat for Skyfall I was not on the lookout for the Rolex or the Aston Martin, it was the Sony Xperia T in its full NFC (near field communication) glory. I had spent too much time speculating how 007 might use it. Maybe he would pay for a Martini at Geneva Airport by tapping his mobile on a payment terminal or download a file on a target from a bus shelter poster in Berlin? However, with a heavy heart I have to report (plot spoiler alert) that he did not use NFC at all. I think Sony/007 might have missed a trick there.

We do not all have to be James Bond to own an NFC phone. In fact, I wager that most of us who have changed our smart phone in the last nine months now have an NFC-enabled device and we do not even know it. That is because firstly, there has been little or no consumer advertising about its functionality on phones, with the exceptions of Sony with its Xperia S and Samsung with its Galaxy SIII. Secondly, because when our R&D team tested all the latest NFC-enabled smart phones, we found that in the vast majority of cases the NFC functionality was switched off. How are we going to get people interested in the benefits of NFC unless we actually let them know it is on their phones?

It does seem that Sony is pretty much on its own in trailblazing NFC, as a feature of its smart phones, so hats off to them. However, we need the rest of the mobile industry to throw their hats into the ring and do a bit of promotion about the fact that they are shipping phones with NFC in them. It is not as if they are Apple, who have been shaken but not stirred by the thought of this new technology (sorry!), yet have consistently resisted putting NFC on their iPhones. For instance, the new Motorola Razr phones actually have NFC, but they do not state this anywhere!

I think the odds that NFC will be a mainstream technology in a couple of years are much better than Bond stacking his chips on black 36 at the roulette table. So come on all you manufacturers, you obviously believe in NFC because you have built it into your phones - it is about time you started giving it some airtime.

About the author

Neil Garner is the founder and CEO of Proxama.