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Next Big Wireless Thing: Near-Field Communications

Near-Field Communications (NFC), a short-range wireless technology that enables, among other things, cell phones to be used to make payments, will become huge, but it will take another two years before that happens, a study released Wednesday by ABI Research says.

Already in use in some parts of the world for making payments with cell phones, ABI analyst Erik Michielsen noted that this year was the year that NFC started to become known and the applications discussed. However, he said in a statement that the technology still needs standards, which it expects to will be developed and approved next year. The following year, 2007, will be when we'll start seeing a lot of devices such as mobile phones with NFC capabilities, the study noted.

There's a big "if" to that last assumption, however, according to Michielsen.

"Open, interoperable, standards-based NFC environments are critical to stabilizing NFC ecosystem working relationships and commitment, especially with wireless carriers seeking clarity on NFC business benefits," he said. "2005 and 2006 NFC trials will be important to help them understand how the numbers add up."