Co-founder of the contactless tagging startup dismisses claims that the tech is a gimmick.
Near field communication, more commonly known as NFC, is dubbed an unproven technology by some industry insiders. Indeed, iZettle CEO Jacob de Geer, said: "NFC is interesting, but it's still the promised land and doesn't have a guaranteed future."
The solution allows NFC-enabled devices to transfer data, payments and so on to another device/touchpoint with a simple wave or tap. Apple infamously snubbed the platform at the launch of the iPhone 5, convincing naysayers the tech is still superfluous.
ME recently spoke to Sam Amrani, the managing director and co-founder of Tamoco, which stands for the Tag Mobile Company, about the startup's goals and his expectations for the space.
What is the point of NFC?
At Tamoco, our aim is to build a bridge that connects physical and digital entertainment. Our designs provide companies with queue-busting tools that can improve the customer journey and save time. Storefronts and businesses can also remain connected to consumers via tags even when they're closed.
Are your tags limited to certain forms?
The idea of our service is to push the boundaries of the space, and we've produced marketing campaigns for retail, festivals, travel and more. Tags have been designed into metal and paper, printed cards, wristbands, and key fobs. We want to push creativity.
What happens when a user engages with a tag?
It's entirely down to the brand and what their goal is. Interactions can connect customers to calls, social media, texts, mobile websites, service updates, and voucher redemption. One of the more beautiful aspects of the tech means tags can be programmed remotely and adapted for different purposes, again and again.
Which companies have you worked with, and what's the largest campaign you've deployed?
We've got more than 50 clients, including operators, banks, supermarkets, retailers and social networks. We ran an Easter Egg style hunt for a book publisher in New York, which called on consumers to track down tags in order to win a signed book.
1,000 tags is a medium-sized campaign and would take around two weeks to make live, while a large campaign of 5,000 tags for would take around six weeks. We can go beyond that though, which would likely be a corporate campaign, with a nationwide retailer requiring upwards of 25,000 tags.
How do you monetise the service?
Initially, we pay out on the cost of tags, printing and programming. We profit from producing the marketing campaign itself, and we make additional revenues from offering detailed data reports of the devices that are accessing the brands' projects and so on.
Did the iPhone 5 damage the NFC market from flourishing?
I'd be lying if I said it didn't slow growth. That said, Apple is beginning to trail the smartphone market in many respects, due to a lack of innovation. The next iPhone will need to include NFC in order to keep up with rivals like Samsung. 2013 will be a big year for NFC.