By most people's reckoning, Near Field Communication (NFC) has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth over the past two to three years, as the number of commercial uses for the technology has mushroomed. We are not only seeing an increasingly innovative range of products appear - ready for use as sales, marketing and logistical tools - we are also witnessing the benefits of NFC becoming more widely recognised as smartphone owners switch on to the potential of their devices.
But if the last few years have been pivotal in NFC's growth, the upcoming period could be even more significant. Research Beam has conducted a study which includes a projection that the market for NFC is set to be worth £19.2 billion ($24 billion) by the year 2020. That equates to a stunning compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.4 percent over the same period.
Research Beam explained that smartphones are a key driver in the technology's continued growth: "Increasing penetration of smartphones for convenient & secure online transactions and growing popularity of Contactless payments are some key factors driving the global NFC technology market."
While the report includes Europe, North America and LAMEA (Latin America Middle East and Africa) in its analysis, it predicted that NFC in the Asia-Pacific region would see the most marked growth, with the highest CAGR - 43.1 percent.
Cash has gone Contactless
The study singled out the spread of cashless payment as a transaction method at sales terminals all over the world as another prevalent factor, with a number of downloads for the mobile wallet application making it among the most popular NFC apps - ticketing sales and secure money transfer are two other activities now facilitated by NFC.
Secure file sharing
Cornering the corporate market usually leads to growth, regardless of the market, and the strides NFC has taken in this sector have been highlighted with regard to secure and rapid data sharing. Even payment details can be securely stored on a smartphone thanks to the Subscriber Identity Module and secured chips many NFC devices use.
It looks like NFC and everybody concerned with the sector have an exciting few years ahead as usage increases along with the number of ways in which the technology can be exploited.