Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Landmark for US Event Producers

NFC—the short-range wireless technology behind “touch-based” lead retrieval, access control, session scanning and other fundamental applications used at large tradeshows, conferences and corporate events—just crossed a tremendous chasm.

“Apple’s decision to include NFC in its iPhone 6 is a landmark for US event producers,” says ITN's President & CEO, Ivan Lazarev. “Apple has made NFC mainstream overnight.”

When the iPhone 6 is released to consumers on September 19, the NFC chip in the device will support mobile payments, named “Apple Pay” by the company.

However, analysts expect that future releases will open the NFC functionality in the new iPhone to developers of other applications.

“US event producers are is going to see a surge of new and important NFC applications, as soon as open NFC in the iPhone is supported,” Lazarev says.

Since 2011, the makers of Android smartphones have shipped all their products with NFC built in, while Apple—with a 42 percent share of the US smartphone market—shunned the technology.

“NFC has emerged as a key enabling technology at US events,” Lazarev says. “But until now its benefits haven’t been easily accessible to all participants, because nearly half carry iPhones.  For the past four years, we have been enabling exhibitors who use iPhones to capture leads by providing external sleeves that add NFC functionality to the phones. That workaround is effective, but will no longer be needed when every event participant—including iPhone users—will be carrying an NFC device.”

Apple’s announcement that it will include NFC in the iPhone 6 marks a clear turning point, solidifying the central role NFC will play at events for years to come.

“The game has irreversibly changed,” Lazarev says. “Apple’s decision means we will see a massive expansion in the NFC ecosystem—and ITN, as the leading provider of NFC event solutions, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of it.”