A couple of weeks ago, I was scanning Advertising Age online and noticed B.L. Ochman’s article ‘No, QR Codes Aren’t Dead. They’re Just Used Badly’. As someone who has a not-so-secret aversion to QR Codes, I was obviously intrigued. The article itself was nothing groundbreaking, but it did get me thinking about the future of QR codes and one of the most interesting emerging digital technologies for advertisers: NFC.
If you’re not familiar with NFC (Near Field Communication), it has recently become the most widely used technology for Smartphone payments – including Google Wallet. What’s unique and noteworthy about the technology is that, unlike Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, it doesn’t require an elaborate pairing process between devices. NFC pairing is enabled based on the proximity (4cm or less) of a NFC chip to another NFC enabled device. Once connected, you can securely share pretty much any type of information or media.
Back in May, Google posted a bunch of footage on YouTube from the 2011 Google I/O Developers conference and in my opinion ‘How to NFC’ was the most impressive of the bunch. The NFC presentation is over 60mins long and a large chunk is designed for developers, however the first third does contain some pretty awesome demos showcasing some of the possibilities of NFC. I’ve included at the end of this post direct links to these highlights, which are well worth checking out.
Looking at NFC under a social lens, the most interesting aspect of the technology is the ability to interact with other NFC enabled devices with zero clicks. This streamlined process will open the door for pre-authorized check-ins, instant content sharing via social networks, and seamless electronic payments between friends.
With the convergence of digital, mobile, social, and real-time location-based applications, we’re already seeing some innovative campaigns that leverage existing technology to enable the distribution of real-time experiences. Two that immediately come to mind are Coca-cola’s ‘Real-life Like’ and Luna Park’s ‘My Experience’.
It’s only a matter of time until NFC adoption becomes more widespread. In-Stat recently presented research indicating that NFC adoption will ‘increase at a compound annual rate of 129 per cent’ until 2015, when it will reach 30% of Smartphones on the market. When it does, NFC will be a critical technology leveraged by advertisers and a key piece in bridging the gap between digital and real-life experience. There are exciting times ahead for brands and agencies willing to think outside of the box.
Highlights from Google 2011 I/O Developers Conference ‘How to NFC’ Presentation:
I’m interested to hear from you. Do you believe QR Codes are passing fad? Will NFC change the way we market?