Gold, silver or bronze for NFC?

Patrick Turiano |

April 15, 2011

On your mark, get set, pay!

Samsung and Visa announced earlier this month that they are testing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology at the London Olympics in 2012. NFC is a short-range, wireless technology that allows mobile devices to talk to one another, therefore allowing them to transact business.

Athletes at the London Games will be able to purchase merchandise and other goods using a mobile handset Visa and Samsung are developing specifically for the games.

If you’ll recall, the Olympic Games in Atlanta experimented with mobile payments in 1996, but the experiment didn’t work out so well.

So why now? And why London?

Because Europe has had the infrastructure in place for years now, it has been using one form or another of mobile payments, and with over 60,000 mobile readers (necessary for NFC mobile payments) in London alone, it is the perfect time and place to test the technology.

With the rapid development of mobile payment technology, we’re also starting to see politicians get their claws into this. The question now in the United States is who and how will this all be regulated? The Federal Reserve Board, FDIC and Office of the Comptroller all oversee the banking industry, while the FCC oversees wireless carriers and the Federal Trade Commission looks out for the consumer. All are jockeying to get the opportunity to run in the race.

Bringing this technology to everyday use is still a couple years off, especially here in the U.S., but the London Games experiment is a step in the right direction in identifying how to bring it all together.