Nokia launches online NFC store

A new online service is designed to make it easy for businesses to begin using NFC by providing smart posters and business cards that enable customers to ‘like’ a retailer on Facebook, follow it on Twitter and check in on Foursquare as well as a range of other tag reading solutions.

Nokia's NFC Hub
NFC HUB: An online service for buying and managing NFC tags

Nokia has launched NFC Hub, an online service designed to make it easy for businesses to begin adopting NFC tag reading solutions.

Over the next 18 months, Nokia told NFC World, the firm is focusing on the marketing aspects of NFC rather than the mobile payment side, as it asserts NFC tags will initially have a broader scope in the marketplace than mobile payments.

Nokia currently offers two NFC phones, the C7 and the N9, but neither provides support for secure NFC applications such as mobile payments and ticketing.

“A huge engagement opportunity exists out there,” said Rupert Englander, Nokia’s head of services, sales and marketing in the UK and Ireland. “This isn’t a case of us filling the void while waiting for mobile payments to come through; it’s about this will happen and it will keep happening. NFC tags will be everywhere, and used for many different things.”

The front end of NFC Hub is an unbranded website, Englander stated, in keeping with the open profile of NFC as a standardised technology. He commented: “The NFC Hub is a Nokia platform, but because NFC is an open standard we didn’t want to go to market with an openly branded Nokia solution, so we’ve gone with an unbranded website. We have said it is ‘powered by Nokia’ to reassure people there’s a strong, solid company behind the Hub.”

NFC Hub is aimed at small companies that are interested in buying generic NFC tagged posters, aimed at directing people to websites, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other URLs, plus tagged business cards.

For larger business, Nokia will account manage via NFC Hub, providing customised tagged products, while businesses can use the site to log in and check anonymized information on how their campaign is being used by people in the street.

Englander added that the NFC Hub can be used to access and change the URLs that a company’s NFC tags are pointing to. “This is a great idea, as you can manage a URL’s direction from the server, so you don’t need to change tags, and therefore posters, to update your campaign,” he noted.

“NFC tags are a huge opportunity so we’ve created a platform that will allow people with ideas for tags to get this started,” Englander concluded.

Next: Visit the NFCW Expo to find new suppliers and solutions