Most marketers have not heard of the NFC Forum, a standards body group of 145 member companies spearheading the technical specification and the adoption of near field communication (NFC), the short-range radio wave technology that allows Google Wallet to make mobile ecommerce transactions with Citi, MasterCard and participating retailers.
Open-source technologists who will no doubt start to build on top of this Google Wallet platform will need to know the specs from this group, which includes Google, Microsoft, NXP Semiconductors, and Broadcom. There are 15 technical specifications built into a certification program, so developers can test against it and ensure interoperability. Member companies founded the forum in 2004, and took about six years to develop the initial technical specs. There's more coming, according to Debbie Arnold, NFC Forum director. "People were sitting around for awhile wondering when mobile payments were coming, but as you can see the possibilities go far beyond this announcement."
Aside from making electronic commerce transactions, the possibilities Arnold refers to focus on custom campaigns. This allows marketers to integrate offline, mobile and online marketing campaigns and activities such as the ability to make an ecommerce transaction and have the consumer receive the receipt back on the phone, or the ability to receive and redeem geotargeted electronic coupons.
Brands will likely find a way to integrate NFC into back-end replenishment and supply chain strategies. In a separate discussion with Kelly Pennock, the Visible Technologies CEO said it's about connecting systems to enterprise platforms from companies like SAP and Oracle.
Companies designing enterprise software already provide auto-replenishment for inventory, but now that replenishment will occur in real-time as the mobile consumer makes the purchase through the phone. "That just-in-time manufacturing turns into just-in-time supply chain and just-in-time ad serving," Pennock said. "It wouldn't surprise me if some companies are already linked into this because they're trying to keep as little on the shelves as possible."
The closer brands get to the transaction, the less expensive and more cost efficiencies are gained. That goes for ad serving as well. While not related to NFC, on Tuesday marketers reading Online Media Daily will learn more about tighter integration between physical manufacturing supply chains and online ad supply chains.