Mobile Monday London event review on NFC

 In mobile monday

On Monday 13th October, I attended a very interesting Mobile Monday in London on Near Field Communication (NFC).

The event was kindly sponsored by Proxama who are not just into NFC, but also doing some smart things with interactive TV.

The two speakers were Victoria Richardson, who is Head of Marketing at Proxama (and who also kindly contacted me before the event to ask if she could quote from my P&G blog post), and Claire Maslen – head of NFC from O2.

Victoria gave a very brief, but concise overview of where NFC can be used and what NFC brings to marketing and media.  She showed a short animation that showed things like smartposters (RFID chip in printed media), peer to peer, access control and payments.

She summarised things into “T-L-C”

  • Try out eg NFC embedded – non intrusive way to bring something to our attention
  • Links – follow links – NFC in traditional media – reach + targeted online
  • Community – power of push and the draw of pull with opt in

As mentioned in the comment below by Victoria,  TLC are the 3 strands of digital discovery devised by David Jennings

Victoria asked the question how do we make money from NFC? She suggested that NFC can solve the solves the mobile redemption problem as the user “taps in” and is assured of getting their content in a simple way.

Next, Claire  Maslen from O2 spoke about the recent NFC trial they conducted in London with 500 O2 customers.

A summary of the results is presented below:

  • 500 O2 customers were selected split across pre and post pay
  • Objective was to test their demand – would they use NFC?
  • Multiple use cases – Oyster (transport) Mobile payments (Barclaycard + Visa), Access control (VIP access to O2 VIP room) and smart posters (touch tags)
  • O2 was placed at the centre of the ecosystem so they could learn about connecting it all together
  • Topline results – 9/10 triallists happy
  • The agency who ran the trial said it was the most compelling trial they had seen
  • Convenience, ease of use and status (I’ve got one and you haven’t) were seen as the key benefits

Transport (Oyster Card) – used in London as for ticketing on buses and underground

  • 89% will take it up
  • 67% said it was  more convenient than their Oyster card
  • 87% said availability an integrated Oyster card on the phone would influence their next phone purchase

Payments (Barclaycard and Visa)

Here the figures were lower because the technology is not as well understood by consumers

  • 68% were interested in taking up the payment feature
  • 41% thought it was faster than paying with cash
  • 47% said the availability of contactless payment would influence their decision

Trial objectives

  • test customer demand
  • test multi use “lifestyle” product – just leave your home with your handset and go about daily business
  • establish partnership and collaboration

Claire did mention that London is unique because of Oyster (the system is only used in greater London for buses and the underground).  As only 4M O2 users live in London from a base of 19M, they need to look at a way of taking this national and not just making it a London/Oyster thing.

A summary of the key trial takeouts is presented below:

  • Choice of handset – a great benefit of the NFC handset was seen – but need to launch on multiple handsets
  • User interface- Users want the Oyster balance checker facility – seen as importance (don’t have to wait for the barrier to find your balance)
  • Security – on payments side, linked to account is seen as key
  • Loyalty – replace coffee shop paper loyalty cards
  • Smart posters – didn’t so enough in the trial – only one use case in the posted – triallists said they should have done more

Sending coupons/vouchers/tickets direct to a consumer’s their handset using NFC helps drive footfall & loyalty.  As part of the trial O2 had a smart poster on the campus of one of London’s universities and they as an offer of the week on campus.

Students liked it as they could go to the poster once a week – tap and get that week’s offer – free coffee/50% of lunch etc. It drove footfall and transaction value because students were spending more at the Uni shop.

Panel Session
To close the evening, there was an excellent panel session with
Claire Maslen, Head of NFC for O2, Victoria Richardson, Head of Marketing, Proxama, James Anderson from MasterCard worldwide, John Hill from IBridge
and Steve Griffiths from iconmobile.


The quote of the night was from Claire who sais “O2 is not after the transaction revenue” – interesting to hear that from a mobile operator.  Claire feels that a great deal of the costs will be borne by the operator once the NFC is integrated into the handset.

Claire felt that NFC will become mainstream when multiple devices are enabled , and she expects that by 2012 to have it in London in time for the Olympics.  O2 believe that the Olympic ticketing opportunity will be one of the drivers to get NFC into handsets,

As always, a great session.  Find out more about Mobile Monday London at

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