On 23-24th of January, NFC Symposium 2014 took place at Sheraton Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden. I was one of the attendants, along with mostly Scandinavian colleagues.
The speakers have been selected from a wide variety of NFC ecosystem, ranging from vendors, to airlines, TSMs to universities.
It was interesting for me to see what kind of NFC projects that the Nordic countries have been working on. Briefly; I must say, it was exactly what I was expecting to see.
NFC ecosystem’s biggest chicken & egg problem has partly been resolved on the device level, but the services on top of the hardware level is still at its early ages. Smartphone penetration is almost complete in Sweden. It was interesting for me to see that even a country like Sweden -where you can pay almost anything with a plastic cards- still does not have a variety of MNO/Bank based mobile wallets. This mostly comes out of the problem that contactless payment is still not an average consumer requirement, so nobody desires a payment card on the mobile phone.
An interesting project came from Mid Sweden University. Dr Johan Sidén presented all kinds of NFC chips embedded with moisture/temperature detection sensors, etc. It was particularly interesting to see the use case of NFC for senior citizen home care projects.
Valyou was also interesting to see, it is almost exactly like what’s been going on with the MNOs in Turkey, but the main driver of the product is the TSM, not single MNOs or banks. MNO wallets have been in production phase in Turkey almost 3 years now and exactly same workflow (of enrollment and transacting) is being piloted in Norway nowadays.
Sweden is a great country in all aspect that you can think of -including card payments, however NFC payment is still at early ages and they will a need some time before the mobile payments with NFC to emerge on the mass level.