NFC Trials in Milan

Telecom Italia's Variety of NFC Applications Provide Fresh Optimism


During last week's GSMA NFC and Mobile Money Summit in Milan, I was fortunate to be selected as one of the 1,000 pilot participants of Telecom Italia's NFC trial. Having previously been an early adopter of Orange's Quick Tap in the UK, I was eager to see how mobile payments might differ in another country and whether this might change my attitude to NFC-based mobile payments, for better or worse.

On receiving a Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 NFC for the trial, I was immediately impressed by the variety of NFC uses that were being promoted by Telecom Italia. Unlike Orange Quick Tap, which was primarily limited to in-store payments, the Italian initiative includes public transport, coupons, smart posters and even an interactive NFC visit at the Museum of Science and Technology.

It was encouraging to see NFC being used for so many different things. I don't think the technology should be restricted to mobile payments; if anything, non-payment uses of NFC will probably be more popular in the short term. However, given the scale of this pilot, I was slightly apprehensive whether all the advertised services would work.

Of course, mobile payments were the focus of the show, and so I had to try this first at a local retailer. Using my TIM Wallet app preloaded with €15, I found a nearby participating restaurant to have dinner.

Unfortunately the staff was not familiar with the technology and couldn't process the transaction. But I did get some satisfaction from using my 10 percent discount coupon saved on the app. The discount was applied by tapping my Galaxy Mini 2 against the waiter's Galaxy Mini 2, which I assume was connected to the restaurant's point-of-sale system.

Despite this initial hiccup, I was determined to find other uses for NFC the next day.

One interesting example was exchanging business cards between NFC phones. This certainly had its benefits — I met many people that had run out of physical business cards — but performing the transaction was not straightforward. Many attendees at the event struggled to understand how to set up the phone to make the exchange.

milan_nfc

It wasn't all disappointing. In just two days in Milan, I encountered notable successes with my NFC-enabled device. The phone was easily able to read smart posters and connect to the Web links. I was most impressed with the NFC ticket on the phone, which provided two one-day travel passes. I used it to get on the metro and it worked perfectly. I simply waved the phone over the card reader at the ticket barrier (see left). I can already see this would offer a number of benefits to commuters.

NFC ticketing is arguably one of the best usage scenarios for the technology. Early trials, such as the one in London using a Nokia 6131 NFC phone in 2007 and 2008, focussed on this aspect and contributed greatly to raising the profile of NFC. I believe there's still a lot of potential in this area, particularly in London where similar technology is already used on the city's Oyster Card.

So, how did my Italian experience differ from my use of Orange Quick Tap in the UK? Certainly Telecom Italia has provided a variety of very interesting ideas that I think could work well in many cities in the UK. NFC ticketing, which is seeing greater adoption, definitely deserves more attention.

Yet some problems persist, most notably in the area of payments. I'm not sure if my experience in Milan changed my fundamental views on NFC, but it has left me optimistic about what could be achieved with the technology. Judging by the variety and number of attendees at NFC and Mobile Money Summit 2012, I don't think I'm the only one.

This entry was posted on October 31st, 2012 and is filed under Services. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Digantam Gurung On October 31st, 2012


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Messenger's new group calling feature will become another venue where consumers interact with businesses https://t.co/0fAS4DSDZG
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @benwood: Huawei's ambitions in the UK underlined by this punchy Vodafone promotion for P9 with a *free* Huawei Watch. https://t.co/oUQ1…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
Fitbit Knocks Out Jawbone Patents at U.S. Trade Agency https://t.co/Ipo1YIRUVY via @bpolitics
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
#IoT @Huawei+@VodafoneUK opened 1st NB-IoT open lab yesterday: https://t.co/XTi6mEBqB2. Rapid standardisation, focus now on ecosystem devt
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
RT @benwood: Fitbit Knocks Out Jawbone Patents at U.S. Trade Agency https://t.co/Ipo1YIRUVY via @bpolitics
Follow Geoff
Nicholas McQuire
A world dominated by glowing rectangles. https://t.co/FkEbNKrXRj
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
#BPL #SWALIV live in #UHD #4K on BT Sport. Stunning! @BTTV https://t.co/bhy627Avj0
Follow Paolo
Marina Koytcheva
7bn mobile phones will be in use worldwide by 2020. Our updated forecast: https://t.co/VSO9OvfrNl https://t.co/6ancxC9dzo
Follow Marina
Kester Mann
With EU roaming charges to fall again on Saturday, presumably #Brexit could mean that caps can be removed and prices could rise again?
Follow Kester
Jasdeep Badyal
RT @benwood: Another @CCSInsight prediction coming true: Fiat & Alphabet in self-driving car talks: https://t.co/epUyOkaEnM #FT https://t.c…
Follow Jasdeep
George Jijiashvili
Read our thoughts on Nokia's acquisition of Withings [https://t.co/cCiy2ZEP9D] #wearables #wearabletech https://t.co/AiJzd7HSbz
Follow George
Rebecca Morley
@PPPAcademy Email just received about payment for Pantomime tickets but we haven't received a letter to say they were going on sale?
Follow Rebecca
Katie Taylor
Another go drawing with @SketchBookPro and the Samsung S Pen ⚡ https://t.co/Rg5w77p3qG
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Facebook Launches Messenger Group Audio Chat Logical Extension of Features, Expect Group Video Calling to... Read more
Blog Post
Nokia Returns to Consumer Tech with Withings Acquisition Nokia Enters the Wellness Market This week Nokia, the Finni... Read more
Blog Post
A Summer Break for Roaming Charges Tesco Mobile Temporarily Halts Roaming Charges in 31 Europea... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

More news