Thursday, 20 September 2012

NFC - the new Bluetooth in the Middle East

This post was originally intended to be published on another blog I'm writing for but was considered too risqué so decided to publish this on my personal blog instead.

NFC or Near Field Communication has been one of those technologies that the smartphone industry hasn’t been able to stop talking about.  NFC is said to revolutionize how we pay for products in the future. We all know what a big deal sliced bread was so NFC is supposed to be the next big deal since credit cards were introduced so comparisons with sliced bread seem apt.

However, one of many features of NFC technology is a simple feature called “Tap to Share” or "Tap to Share" depending on who you speak to.  Put simply, it allows you to connect devices to each other by bringing them close to each other.  A headset or speaker can there by connected to your smartphone just by tapping it instead of using an awkward Bluetooth setup.

Fancy an NFC date? Image:

What does this mean in the Middle East?  For anyone who knows the region well, the use of Bluetooth has been somewhat unique.  Many consumers don’t simply use Bluetooth to connect devices but to connect to people.  With social norms being as conservative as they are in the region, it is not uncommon to see young males and females meeting over a Bluetooth scan and “hooking” up.  In the same way, it is not common to see BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) PIN numbers advertised on the back of a car and for BBM dating to start.

So while the rest of the world talks about NFC and payment gateways, the youth of the region I’m sure are trying figure out, how does NFC now fit into social life and will it indeed be a success in the region?