Following up on my previous post about how NFC Smartphones Could Mean Greater Customer Influence, here is an introduction to the capabilities in the first iteration of NFC available in a U.S. smartphone, the Nexus S by Google and Samsung.
As mentioned in the video, NFC is currently limited to reading data from tags. The phone cannot send data to another NFC device at this time due to security concerns. This prevents contactless payment applications at this time, but I would expect to see enhanced NFC capabilities in the not-to-distant future once developers have worked out security considerations for this type of functionality.
It will be interesting to see which retail establishments are early adopters and lead the pack in innovative uses for this functionality to interact with their customers. I would expect to see a period of minimal NFC application availability initially as retailers evaluate technology use-cases and test interactive applications in limited markets. However, look for the market to pick up dramatically in time for the Q4 holiday shopping season next year as retailers push for competitive advantages in mobile commerce to drive increased store visits by consumers.
All signs point to mobile as the big strategic initiative for retailers in 2011!