In my perspective, NFC was the rising star of the Mobile World Congress 2010. In the first day of the event, the agenda of the session was mobile money. A balanced selection of speakers from carriers to technology companies provided a mind opening content.
The first outcome of the day for me was that NFC is something that you can not expect a single task, but there is a need for companions. I mean, a simple mobile wallet application will not be enough for people to make it a killer application. Mobile coupon style add-ons as well as making the content accesible to user through the handset is crucial. People already have credit cards, debit cards, transportation cards, etc for making the payment. Why would the user have switch it to a handset instead of a card?
Secondly, all the parties are ready to jump on the band wagon but it still needs some time for the boom. We’ve already seen many pilots and even a commercial roll out in Japan, but there’s still some more time ahead.
Mobile World Congress 2010 had also an NFC event for platinum pass holders with a Samsung handset.
It was interesting to see that SIM cards are having more and more abilities for mobile payment applications. Gemalto announced a new SIM card which is able to run a DESFire ticketing application. I also had a product presentation of a SIM platform with NFC support from Giesecke&Devrient.
Finally, BarclayCard announced an iPhone application which can accept contact EMV chip cards with the PIN support. Just like the US version running from magnetic stripe interface, Barclay’s one has a contact chip card reader attached to the iPhone and the terminal software runs on the iPhone OS.