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Part Deux—NFC World Congress Day 2—Exhibition Recap & Highlights

Bonjour once again from the NFC World Congress in Nice, France. While yesterday’s introductory session focused exclusively on keynote addresses and panel discussions, today the exhibition floor is full of activity with NFC vendors from across the globe showing off their latest and greatest. Here are a few highlights from our meetings:

  • Nokia demonstrated its new Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 smartphones. Both devices run Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, which, as we mentioned yesterday, looks well-designed and very user-friendly.  Both Lumia models feature NFC (of course) which can be used to pair with a range of NFC-enabled Bluetooth accessories, including wireless headphones, a hands-free headset and an mp3 stereo speaker. The two phones are very similar, but the 920 has several added features including wireless charging and a larger 4.5 inch screen. While it is no secret that Nokia has been challenged as of late in the smartphone market, we think these two new offerings have potential to reverse the company’s fortunes. Ultimately, it will be up to the consumers, however—only time will tell if they will give a non Android/iOS device a chance.
  • Gemalto, one of the leading TSM providers for B2C companies deploying m.wallets and other secure NFC solutions, is working to educate enterprises (particularly banks, retailers and other merchants) about NFC’s capabilities, benefits and ROI potential. While Gemalto’s business is rooted in TSM for secure payment applications, the company has also broadened its application perspective to include ticketing, loyalty and couponing as well. The company claims it has a number of large-scale NFC projects currently in the works that are expected to go live during the next year, so we look forward to learning more about these deployments as details emerge.
  • Device Fidelity, a US-based supplier of add-on NFC solutions for iOS and older Android devices, might actually be happy that the iPhone 5 is not NFC-enabled. The company, which integrates NFC into phones lacking embedded chips via slide-on protective cases or Micro SD cards, announced that it has an NFC case in development for the new iPhone, which (as we all know) represents the last major smartphone model still without embedded NFC. Device Fidelity has also diversified its offerings to include a Micro SD card-based Secure Element (SE)—a form factor that is especially appealing to banks and other financial institutions that want to make NFC available to their customers, but are unwilling to “rent” space on the SIM card SE from MNOs.
That’s all from day two at the NFC World Congress. The VDC team will return home tomorrow, but stay tuned to this blog for a full conference overview. Au revior til then…
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