Barcelona is buzzing with all things mobile as global executives flock to the Mediterranean city for the annual Mobile World Congress.
One of the topics of conversation popping up on stage in the seminar rooms, and being put into practice on the show floor, with NFC Tap-n-Go points throughout the passageways connecting the conference's eight mega-halls, is the promise of Near Field Communication technology.
The GSMA, which has offered a range of NFC-enabled services during the MWC since last year's show, states that there are already more than 355 million NFC handsets in use globally, and 270 handset types now featuring NFC technology. More than 1.1 billion SIM-based NFC devices will be sold worldwide between 2010 and 2016, supporting transactions of more than $50 billion globally during the same period of time, according to the GSMA, citing forecasts from industry research firm Strategy Analytics.
During a Monday panel discussion, executives representing different segments of mostly customer-facing NFC companies, including CaixaBank, VeriFone, and Visa, talked about ways to deliver on this promise and enrich the end-user experience. They spoke about the dawn of cloud-based mobile payments, the increasing number of point-of-sale terminals globally, and the regional growth of NFC consumers in places like Australia, Brazil, North America, and Singapore. (Singapore is the most mobile-ready payment market in the world, according to Visa's Sam Shrauger, senior vice president of digital developed markets. Who knew?)
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