Day Two #WWDC – Bluetooth and Passbook vs NFC?

June 12, 2012

in apps, iPhone Developers, Mobility

Leaving the Bluetooth session today I was talking to a couple of Airline guys. The discussion started by focusing on Bluetooth 4.0 and wondering re the comparisons with NFC. Obviously, their interest was around ticketing and we quickly added the new Passbook feature into the  conversation. So when I came to write up a few thoughts I have two main observations.

1. What’s the Future Transaction Device Set?  iPads are being deployed in many places as the replacement for the cash register. With the latest Bluetooth 4.0 as a peripheral they can act as the advertiser or broadcaster. That could make payments, loyalty cards, and other in store promotions interesting. Example notifying a rep when someone in close proximity picked up on an offer. The example in the session demo was using a simple heart monitor and there is certainly plenty of opportunity for similar health apps.  So here’s my observation and question. When the iPad becomes the register does it effectively eliminate all the complexity surrounding NFC? Why would you buy NFC terminals when a more elegant solution provides it for free and enables a broadcast functionality? Will this approach be a total lower cost deployment option? Finally, this type of deployment appears to be “outside the banks” interests in NFC and more built around loyalty and behavior options. When I add in passbook I suspect a much richer behavioral experience could be created.

2. Management doesn’t get it. Back to the airline type story. I asked them about “management” and how they see the business and how it relates to mobile. Their comment was their management doesn’t yet see mobile as that important and they would scoff at putting a ticket in Passbook etc.  This “blinders” problem should not be understated. Developers see the opportunity, and yet management continues to be blind to it. The developers seemed quite happy to continue developing, they don’t really want the hassle of promoting change with management at a strategic level. On the other hand management doesn’t have the experience or vision to understand the new behaviors or even how to direct it.  As I see it…. the way we interact with the internet of things is just starting to emerge and will accelerate rapidly over the next few years. From obscure examples to everyday occurrences like unlocking and starting our car. I’m more convinced than ever that there remains a role to energize the conversation and experimentation across the enterprise around personal devices.

Who’s the evangelist for change in your company? Where’s the conversation going?


  • Don

    I can agree with the sentiments in this article as well as the airline employee sentiments about management. We’ve recently created a Personal, DIY and OEM Bluetooth 4 peripheral and it’s interesting when interacting with consumers and developers who just still don’t “get it”

    I just hope that in the case of BT4 that some of the Android Fragmentation can fade away to support this amazing advancement in personal connectivity.

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