Near Field Communication (NFC) is moving out of the realm of the hypothetical and into the realm of reality for retailers. As a result, it is now necessary for retailers to prepare to capitalize on NFC-enabled technology, according to blogger Leslie Hand.

"I am speaking specifically about the variety of new ways retailers will be able to interact with consumers, when the consumer has a mobile device at their disposal that can communicate with signs, devices and other objects because of the NFC capabilities embedded in the phones," she wrote.

NFC Adoption Dependency Factors

Swiping phones to get offers or to pay for things will soon be popular, but other capabilities such as mobile check-in, coupon management and product information/warranty look-up are shoo-ins for rapid adoption because of the customer benefits.

The following, however, are the factors that contribute to the availability and adoption patterns in the U.S. market for NFC-enabled capabilities:.

Retail readiness: Investing in NFC-enabled payment terminals is very expensive and thus, we advise upgrades be made in the course of their regular replacement cycles.

NFC-enabled debit/credit cards: Banks are now making commitments to NFC. Citigroup announced the launch of EMV-compliant (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) smartcards earlier this year, and Visa announced incentives toward moving to EMV.

Carrier support of NFC: The cell phone carriers would love to capitalize on the plethora of service opportunities NFC-enabled phones present, but of course, any retailer will tell you they will not bear additional fees for this service. Thus the creation of Isis, a joint venture between Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA, which have invested more than $100 million to establish a network by which consumers can securely make payments, store and present loyalty cards, and redeem offers at participating merchants with the tap of their phones.

Cell phone manufacturers: The fact that a broad array of cell phone manufacturers has made announcements regarding their intent to make NFC-enabled phones is significant, because all of the hypothesizing about the future of NFC capabilities is meaningless without real devices that bring things like mobile wallet, check-in and offers to life. The role of alternative payment and wallet schemes, including Google and PayPal -- Google Inc. and PayPal are also playing very significant roles in driving NFC adoption, as both companies have developed wallet and payment capabilities.

Read more about payments.

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