When the Nexus S was launched by Google in December last year, it came with a NFC (Near Field Communication) chip built-in. NFC is a proximity based technology based on RFID which allows your NFC enabled mobile, credit card or device to securely transmit and receive information over a short range (maximum range of a few inches), which allows for E-Commerce, File Sharing, Social Networking and other exciting things. The inclusion of this technology was also a contributing factor in me deciding to pick up a Nexus S to replace my old Nexus One.
At this stage we have seen NFC widely utilised in Japan for many years, however acceptance by the rest of the world has been slow to start, however, with Google starting up Google Wallet in the US and including the NFC Chip in their flagship Nexus phone this year, we are starting to see a wider acceptance. More after the break.
In the US, Google announced their Google Wallet Service back in May announcing they would be partnering initially with Sprint to offer the Nexus S 4G as the first Google Wallet compatible device, with presumably other carriers versions of the Nexus S to follow soon after. The Citi Mastercard was picked as the launch Credit Card to support NFC Payments to be used with the MasterCard Pay Pass system & the option of a Google Prepaid Card was mentioned as well.
Businesses associated with the launch included
- American Eagle Outfitters
- The Container Store
- Duane Reade
- Einstein Bros Bagels
- Foot Locker
- Jamba Juice
- Peets Coffee & Tea
- Radio Shack
Only 3 of these actually exist in Australia so I emailed the customer service dept for Foot Locker, Toys’R’Us and Subway and also the Australian arm for CitiBank & just for luck, I also asked Google if they had any timeframe for this, I got these replies :
We don’t have a timeline to announce about NFC in Australia.
Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately we will not be offering the same service in Australia.
Thank you for your enquiry regarding Foot Locker AU partnering with the Google Wallet system. Currently this is not something that we offer or have looked into offering, however we do endeavour to maximise the experience for our customers so will certainly review this partnership with our US counterparts to see if it is something that could be rolled-out here in the future.
The Google Wallet trial in the USA is an exiting new way for our customers to easily pay for purchases, quickly. As the trial progresses, in partnership with Google, we will consider the appropriateness for further development within Subway® restaurants. At this stage this new technology is only a trial in the USA, and there are no plans to introduce the service in Australia in the near future. Subway® restaurants will continue to look at new ways to make visiting our stores easier and more enjoyable as advanced technology becomes available in Australia.
Thank you for your interest in Citibank.
We’d like to be able to help you, but a Citibank Autralia credit card
account partnered with Google to be used in conjunction with Google
Wallet and NFC based payments is currently unavailable.
So it appears that we`re pretty much up the creek here in Australia in terms of using our Nexus S NFC capability, for now anyway….or so I thought.
Thanks to a keen eyed Ausdroid reader, we`ve found a new Sydney based company called Tapit Media. Tapit who were founded this year in Sydney is part of the 3 way “NFC World Alliance” who are the top NFC Marketing companies, sharing experiences/insights and global brand relationships. Blue Bite (Americas) , Proxama (EMEA) and Tapit (Asia Pacific). Tapit are supplying the NFC technology for ads currently appearing around Sydney and some in Melbourne, on signs from JCDecaux. On their website, Tapit reference ads they have already integrated with NFC for
- NovaFM which will allow users to tap the sign to immediately start listening to Nova
- The Queen Victoria Building opens a web page to show details on how to win a $5000 shopping spree
- The Renovators for Channel 10 which allows people to download a Renovators ringtone and receive daily sneak previews of that night’s episode.
On their website they offer options to companies looking to utilise NFC in their marketing the ability to offer through NFC :
- Mobile commerce i.e. impulse purchases via a mobile website
- Coupons/Discount code distribution
- Ticketing – Purchase any rail, movie, airline, concert or event ticket
- Social Community building e.g. Facebook likes, Twitter follows etc
- Surveys and brand reviews
- Content delivery in text, audio or video format
They do list the Samsung Galaxy S II as NFC compliant, technically 2 of the US Models recently released do have NFC, however our Australian models are sadly not NFC enabled but of course the Google Nexus S is NFC Compliant.
NFC Payments are also on the horizon with the two major credit card companies in Australia both working on NFC payment systems with Visa PayWave and Mastercard PayPass rolling out to retail stores to allow a tap and go option of payment.
I for one can’t wait for the novelty of finally utilising the NFC chip in my phone. What do you think?