Mobile World Congress Trials NFC Admissions

One of the least elegant phrases surrounding technology is “to eat your own dog food”, the idea that companies should use their own products and services.
The GSMA, the trade body behind Mobile World Congress, is eating its, or at least the industry’s, dog food in having a Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled admission badge that will allow those delegates that have an enabled device to jump the queues and get speedy admission.

Those that have an NFC enabled Android or Windows Phone device simply hold their device up to one of the many posters around the venue that have an NFC chip embedded in them, and it downloads the app directly to their smartphone.

It is then a few simple steps to add your picture, get it verified and then, in theory, you can get in and out just by swiping your phone.

When we tried it using a Nokia Lumia, the phone instantly registered the NFC chip, but alas failed to download the app, much to the chagrin of the official from the GSMA. However the Android phone worked seamlessly and was a lot faster than joining the queues.

NFC is a contactless wireless technology that allows devices to exchange data quickly, and has long been touted as a solution to problems like mobile payments and smartphone ticketing.

The technology has been built into Nokia devices for some time, and later versions of Google’s Android operating system support it, but it is upto handset makers if they wish to add the chips and hardware necessary to make it work.

The technology has always suffered from a chicken-and-egg problem: if handset makers don’t build the devices, then there is no point in building readers to handle the technology. If there are no readers, then why should handset makers go to the expense of adding it in?

By Ben Rooney

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