your phone is your wallet
For years Apple has been working on transforming the iPhone into a mobile wallet. It has secured a host of patents and hired in mobile payment and NFC-related technology experts to help it in its attempt.
The idea is simple: You wave your phone near an NFC-enabled terminal and then enter in your PIN number on your phone's screen. This authorizes a payment withdrawal from your account. You could also pay for items in advance, then collect at store, using your mobile as your authorisation tool.
your ticket to ride
It isn't just about payments. The attraction of NFC is that it can be used to safely and securely confirm your ID. This means it's a viable solution for automatic check-ins you can do entirely on your device.
Ticketmaster is already working to offer NFC-based tickets for live events. Add a little location-sensing and it's possible your phone will not just be able to find and book a show for you, and be the event ticket, but will also be able to guide you to the correct seat.
at the museum
The giant wand that is a museum audio guide is a great way to deliver information in multiple languages, but it could soon become a thing of the past.
Using an NFC-based handset, you will in future be able to walk up to the ticket desk, wave your phone at a terminal and download a multilingual audo guide directly to your smartphone. Swiping your device in front of a terminal next to an exhibit will reveal information about it. Taking it one step further, NFC will allow the museum to offer interactive exhibits or discount vouchers for use in the museum shop.
drive my car, baby
Numerous auto manufacturers are already moving to create NFC-based car keys. Firms involved include Continental, NXP, BMW and others.
These keys mean you'll only need to remember one device. Used alongside Wi-Fi and other technologies, with NFC it will also be possible to start your car, rev it up and start its heating using your key and an app.
Groupon after Groupon
The beauty of discount voucher services such as Groupon is that consumers get presented with an array of discount goods at very little personal risk. Now imagine this is transferred to the high street. Using location technologies, consumers might be able to log into a service which enables vendors to send them geographically-targeted discount codes.
It works like this: You accept these codes and find yourself in a strange new town for the first time. As you walk down the high street you receive a text message. That message invites you to grab a cup of free coffee at a local patisserie if you sample one of their cakes. All you need to do is visit the shop, make the order and wave your NFC device across a terminal, the technology recognises your device and the deal is done. You might even pay for the cake using your device.
I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.