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
Xiaomi resists the market trends of bigger phone screens and smaller bezels with its new Mi 6 flagship handset: https://t.co/w4oYNPd2yO
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @kestermann: Orange the latest telco to launch personal assistant. CEO @srichard introduces and demonstrates #Djingo on stage. #ShowHello
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @nickmcquire: Half of UK workers "relaxed" and positive on #workplace #AI as a means to improve jobs, creativity & flexibility https://t…
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
@amazon launches DIY subscriptions service marketplace - interesting move with high potential for disruption. https://t.co/o6WxjfpYjv
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
RT @Mikel_Jollett: TRUMP: The protesters are paid. These marches are small. Well, here's Chicago today: https://t.co/iyfVfmFy8O
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
@nickmcquire @benwood @facebook @geoffblaber @martin_garner @shauncollins @George_CCS Don't judge too fast, dummy t… https://t.co/eokzYz2EdN
Follow Marina
Nicholas McQuire
Half of UK workers "relaxed" and positive on #workplace #AI as a means to improve jobs, creativity & flexibility https://t.co/E9kduUhFxL
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
#NABShow: Time for ShowStoppers. One of my highlights of any show https://t.co/myJSTCSEJ1
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
Just published – latest @CCSInsight Hotline provides an in-depth assessment of progress, achievements and challenge… https://t.co/oTpd8PLpg9
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
RT @benwood: Huge potential for VR beyond games. Smart move by @unity3d to move in this direction. https://t.co/OZSuFtG0M0
Follow George
Katie Taylor
Working on a new study on @SketchBookPro with the @AdonitNews Jot Touch stylus https://t.co/4m2Q9v0eUl
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Miles of Light Verizon to Buy Miles of Fibre for Fixed-Line and Wireless Se... Read more
Blog Post
Xiaomi Didn't Get the Big Device Memo Reveals Its New Mi 6 Flagship Phone On Wednesday at an even... Read more
Blog Post
Facing Reality Will Users Take to Facebook's New Dual Realities? For Faceb... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Sales of 5G Smartphones to Hit 100 Million in 2021 Over 10 billion mobile phones to be shipped in the next five... Read more
More news