NFC is so old that it is scary: the real change is just around the corner


Recent articles on emerging mobility tools have highlighted the extraordinary lack of understanding around the shift in technology from the desktop to the device. It seems that overnight we’ve moved from a society of desk-jockeys driving PCs to a mobile workforce living on our PDAs and using them to access information and undertake commercial transactions.

But guess what? This ‘new wave’ is not new at all. It is simply a realisation that its time has come.

The reality is that smartphones, near field communications (NFC) and contactless payments have been around for years. Getting excited about these technologies is like getting stoked about a new app on an iPhone when nowadays all phones have apps. It is like thinking SMS (texting) is awesome! NFC is so old that it is scary. And yet we as a community think this is the leading edge? Give me a break!

The real change is just around the corner. When contactless payments reach the commercial world and transcend simple iPhones to get into the business end of devices. When we realise we actually need to track and reconcile spend across these devices. That’s when technology comes to the fore. That’s also when business needs to wake up and understand that the world of yesterday, one of ledgers and printed records, will no longer be the case for tomorrow.

And the challenge is how do you manage and identify these transactions. Wouldn’t it be easier to have them all in one place on a single platform?

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Robert Kirby has more than 20 years experience in the expense management and payments industry, and has led business operations from three different continents. Prior to co-founding Spendvision in 2001, Robert held senior executive positions with Globeset, where he was initially based in Austin, Texas as VP responsible for B2B transaction services. Later he moved to Australia to become VP and general manager of the APAC and Japan business unit. Prior to Globeset, Robert held senior management positions at Telstra and led the development and implementation of eCommerce and payments products and services. Robert has held a position on the Board of the Australian Payments System Council – a body charged with advising the Australian Treasurer on the efficiency of the Australian payments system. He is also a member of the Commercial Payments International advisory board.