Hot Topic at the BlackBerry Innovation Forums in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa: Near Field Communication technology (NFC) and BlackBerry Smartphones

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Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has been a key topic of conversation at our BlackBerry® Innovation Forum events in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Business leaders have been learning about and discussing how NFC is being rapidly adopted by organizations in sectors such as transport, banking, payment, entertainment, hospitality, and retail. Companies worldwide are looking to take advantage of the benefits of this exciting new technology. The applications and future possibilities of NFC are vast, including:

  • Ticketing: Gaining access to gigs and shows
  • Travel and transport: bus, train, metro and airline access
  • Payments: Using NFC to pay for items in shops instead of using a traditional credit or debit card, as a replacement for small cash payments at vending machines and convenience stores, and for peer-to-peer payments between individuals
  • Access: Using NFC for physical access to secure premises instead of having a fob or separate security access keycard
  • Identification: Your ID cards could be stored on a smartphone and displayed using NFC technology
  • Sharing: Using NFC to share electronic business cards, photos, files or data with other people just by touching smartphones together (introduced recently as BlackBerry® Tag)

NFC has four major benefits: convenience, speed, interaction and security. Andrew Bocking, VP Handheld Software Product Management at Research In Motion® (RIM®) gave his thoughts on the uses of NFC in this short video from Mobile World Congress 2011.

Research In Motion is a central and innovative player in the NFC ecosystem. Several of our latest devices, the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900 smartphone, the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9790 smartphone, the BlackBerry® Curve™ 9360 smartphone, and the BlackBerry® Curve™ 9380 smartphone include an NFC chip – future proofing the devices for developments and applications using NFC.

Increased popularity of “contactless payment” over the last few years has seen it become the most talked about form of NFC use. This method of payment has traditionally been achievable through a “contactless payment card”, looking much the same as a regular credit or debit card but with the card’s chip housing NFC technology. This is set to grow and develop quickly, and we hope to see smartphones increasingly take the place of traditional cards for many consumers. Research In Motion is at the forefront of smartphone-based NFC development and has recently been listed by MasterCard® as accredited for ‘Mobile PayPass Certification’. This means that they meet the functionality, interoperability, and security requirements of MasterCard for contactless mobile payments.

Last month at GITEX, Research In Motion Limited CEO Jim Balsillie announced the introduction of BlackBerry Tag, another NFC powered function for BlackBerry smartphone users. By tapping together two BlackBerry smartphones holding NFC capability, users may be able to exchange contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content. No more losing vital business cards as the details are saved directly into the Contacts application.

NFC presents many exciting opportunities moving forward. We believe that this exciting technology can extend well beyond mobile payments and will enable our lives to become much more convenient as programs become integrated, all while remaining secure and reliable. We are encouraging our customers to think about how they will include NFC and contactless transactions in their mobile commerce strategies and customer interactions in the future.

For more information on our BlackBerry Innovation Forum series, follow us @BBEMEABusiness and join the conversation using #BIF11 on Twitter.

How do you see Near Field Communication affecting your day-to-day life in the future? Share in the comments!

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