Mobile Commerce, Payments, NFC/RFID and Big Data

There has been an explosion in mobile payment service launches, joint ventures, and partnerships in the past two to three years.  Merchants are starting to appreciate the benefits that mobile payments can bring, with major chains including Starbucks and McDonald’s launching services on a national basis.

There has been an explosion in mobile payment service launches, joint ventures, and partnerships in the past two to three years.  Merchants are starting to appreciate the benefits that mobile payments can bring, with major chains including Starbucks and McDonald’s launching services on a national basis.

The role of Near Field Communication (NFC) in mobile payments continues to divide the industry. Its champions argue that it will propel mobile payments into the mainstream, whereas its detractors point out that it is a technology not a service, and is just one of a number of enabling technologies capable of supporting mobile payments.

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Understanding and Capitalizing on Mobile Payment SystemsUnderstanding and Capitalizing on Mobile Payment Systems

Mobile payments is rapidly expanding with solutions, applications, and services. Mobile payments systems include technologies and solutions that deliver electronic commerce features directly across mobile-wireless devices. This report provides an understanding of mobile payments technologies, systems, major players and solutions, and an overall forecast for mobile payments for five years. 

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Despite having been around for more than a decade, only now is NFC beginning to make a serious assault on the marketing industry.  Much of the focus on NFC over the last couple of years has been around contactless payment.  There has been little if any discussion about capturing data from NFC transactions for analytics.

NFC technology works by sending data via radio waves between two devices that each has an NFC chip when the two come into close proximity, typically within a foot.  It works by the same methodology as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags.  In one scenario, a customer picks up an RFID hanger holding a shirt and examines the garment while viewing relevant product knowledge displayed on a nearby panel. The customer enters a fitting space and tries on the garment. An RFID reader records this action. The customer then decides to shop for the blouse, leaves the fitting area (an action duly noted by the RFID reader), and completes the acquisition via NFC on her smartphone. As she completes her purchase, she takes advantage of the store’s application to post a photo and outline of the purchase on her Facebook wall.

This single transaction creates five different data records:

  • Picking up the hanger
  • Entering the fitting room
  • Leaving the fitting room
  • Purchasing the blouse
  • Making the Facebook post

This represents a huge and fast growing opportunity for Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) providers to take advantage of data collection, analytics and generation of business intelligence information for retailers.  However, this is just one example of data collection.  As indicated in the above illustration, there are several places where the so-called “Big Data” (unstructured data) can be captured.