Near Field, Not Left Field


According to the space-age sages at Wired, Near Field Communication – a piece of smartphone wizardry which can transform your phone into a credit card, Oyster pass or even an advert scanner – is a technology about to come of age.

Its rumoured inclusion in the forthcoming iPhone 5 has got a lot of gadget geeks hot under the collar – and now brands and outdoor media owners have teamed up to explore what it might mean for the humble billboard.

The results of a recent trial in Reading – organised by Kinetic and JCDecaux – makes encouraging reading for brands who want to combine outdoor ads and interactivity. By waving your NFC gadget in the direction of, say, a billboard for The Only Way Is Essex, consumers are able to download exclusive new footage of Loughton’s finest:

Download an exclusive picture of these orange coloured people, and be the envy of your friends.

Now, the esteemed readers of high quality blogs like this one might not immediately see the appeal of having the cast of TOWIE download themselves onto your phone, but 78% of those surveyed in the Reading trial described the experience as positive.

What’s more, NFC ads which allowed users to download a discount code for redemption* in a nearby store bought in significant new footfall to local shops.

Yours truly is split on this. The technology is amazing, and the potential for brands is obviously significant. But will the English ever take to waving their phones around at bus stop and billboard ads? Or is NFC just an adman’s high tech flash in the pan?

If you think you know the answer, Tweet @outdoorMC, or put a comment in the usual place.

Have a good week,


* That’s redemption of the discount code variety, by the way. No other types of redemption are available if you live in Reading…


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