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19 November 2012

NFC Payments and the Gartner Hype Cycle

If you are familiar with the Gartner “Hype Cycle” for emerging technologies you will know that the pathway to the “plateau of full adoption” is paved with both hope and despair.

What’s more, not all technologies, make it to that promised land, with some getting stuck in what Gartner call “the trough of disillusion” having already passed the “peak of inflated expectations”.

Gartner recently published its 2012 version of the “hype cycle” and not surprisingly we were interested in where they placed NFC payments. According to Gartner, NFC payments have passed their “peak” and are heading firmly towards the bottom of the cycle.

Oddly enough, we agree. Getting NFC payments right is hard! Expectation levels were set high, and now the industry is going through the growing pains of consumer delivery.

It starts with the handset, and market confusion about the so-called “secure element” which many portray as essential to NFC – which is true in one flavour of delivery, but not in all versions of NFC. With a cloud-based solution, for example, standard NFC has as much – if not more – security in the transaction as secure NFC.

Then there are all the variants in the point of sale (POS) hardware, and of course different software solutions. One thing seems certain, market confusion slows adoption and leads us into Gartner’s “Trough of Disillusionment.”

That’s why at C-SAM, we think more holistically about mobile payments and other secure mobile transactions. We love NFC, but we also like QR codes. We are constantly evolving our platform to support all methods of mobile transactions. So you can support all your mobile users, and all of your terminals.

There’s another area we agree on with Gartner. The analyst firm predicts NFC Payments will reach the “plateau of full market adoption” and be one of the emerging technologies that succeeds. We do differ on the timescale though – we think companies that adopt C-SAM can break through and start to climb the heights again today.

http://www.gartner.com/