AutoID & Data Capture Blog

Near Field Communication: It's not Just for Payments Anymore

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has been receiving a lot of attention recently, often in the context of enabling contactless payments. However, NFC is well suited to a host of other applications, including contactless ticketing. We expect ticketing will be an increasingly common NFC application as more smartphones and other consumer devices incorporate NFC capability as a standard feature.

The verticals in which NFC-based ticketing could have a significant impact—public transportation, air travel, and entertainment, to name several—generally have the requisite infrastructure for accepting contactless tickets already in place, which would make the transition to NFC ticketing relatively quick, easy and inexpensive. The deployment of contactless NFC ticketing would have immediate benefits in each of these verticals, including:

  • Reduced ticketing costs: accepting paperless, NFC tickets would provide strong ROI by reducing (or altogether eliminating) the costs associated with printing, distributing, and accepting paper tickets.
  • Increased security/reduced fraud: The counterfeiting of tickets, especially those for popular sporting and entertainment events, is a common problem. By adopting NFC-based ticketing, organizations can limit their exposure to losses related to fraudulent/counterfeit tickets.
    • In entertainment applications, the ability to track tickets precisely from purchase to admission has an added benefit: by restricting the transfer of NFC tickets between parties, ticket issuers can effectively manage scalping and illegal ticket reselling.

The impact of NFC ticketing will reach beyond those benefits it provides to deploying organizations. NFC ticketing will emerge as an alternative—and direct competitive threat—to other ticketing technologies, including mobile barcode. How will the market to respond to NFC ticketing? To be certain, only time will tell, however, we expect NFC will cause disruption in the market for mobile barcode readers.