Gartner places NFC in ‘trough of disillusionment’

NFC payments are five to ten years away from mainstream adoption and on the crossover between the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ and the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’, according to this year’s Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. NFC as a whole is expected to hit the mainstream more quickly, but is still two to five years away from maturity.

Gartner Hype Cycle 2012
GARTNER: NFC slides away from the peak of inflated expectations

Market analyst Gartner has published the 2012 edition of its annual Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, which sees it analysing the market adoption status of a wide range of technologies and placing each on a graph indicating its stage of development and likely time to reach maturity.

Last year, the analysts caused surprise by placing NFC payments at the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations‘. For 2012, NFC payments and NFC in general are separately handled in the graph — but NFC payments are still seen as being five to ten years away and are placed on the border between the Peak of Inflated Expectations and the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’. NFC in general, meanwhile, is placed firmly in the Trough of Disillusionment with a time to plateau of two to five years.

Gartner's 2012 Hype Cycle: Click to enlarge

Overall, says Gartner’s Hung LeHong, the theme of this year’s Hype Cycle is the concept of ‘tipping points’. “We are at an interesting moment, a time when many of the scenarios we’ve been talking about for a long time are almost becoming reality,” he explains.

“The smarter smartphone is a case in point. It’s now possible to look at a smartphone and unlock it via facial recognition, and then talk to it to ask it to find the nearest bank ATM. However, at the same time, we see that the technology is not quite there yet. We might have to remove our glasses for the facial recognition to work, our smartphones don’t always understand us when we speak, and the location-sensing technology sometimes has trouble finding us.”

NFC is one of those tipping point technologies, according to Gartner, for its ability to help people interact more naturally with technology. “The technologies on the Hype Cycle that make this possible include human augmentation, volumetric and holographic displays, automatic content recognition, natural-language question answering, speech-to-speech translation, big data, gamification, augmented reality, cloud computing, NFC, gesture control, virtual worlds, biometric authentication methods and speech recognition,” the analysts say.

“Many of these technologies have been ’emerging’ for multiple years and are starting to become commonplace, however, a few stand out as tipping point technologies including natural-language question answering and NFC.”

NFC is also a tipping point technology for payments, says Gartner, which envisions a cashless world in which every transaction is an electronic one. “This will provide enterprises with efficiency and traceability, and consumers with convenience and security. The technologies on the 2012 Hype Cycle that will enable parts of this scenario include NFC payment, mobile over-the-air (OTA) payment and biometric authentication methods. Related technologies will also impact the payment landscape, albeit more indirectly. These include the Internet of Things, mobile application stores and automatic content recognition. The tipping point will be surpassed when NFC payment and mobile OTA payment technologies mature.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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

3 comments on this article

  1. So I’m going to go out on a limb here… I think both NFCs could be further down the slope towards the bottom of the trough, but not so much that I’d argue about it.

    However, I’d shift NFC in general to a white spot (“less than two years”) and NFC payments to a light blue spot (“two to five years”). Here’s why:

    * NFC is now shipping in many, if not most, high end devices. Ordinary people are starting to use NFC. It’s coming soon, and it will come fast.

    * NFC payments have taken what seems like forever to arrive, but that’s because it’s not easy, there’s a lot of work to do behind the scenes and it’s got to be secure; there’s no room for mistakes. That said, there are a whole bunch of major programmes in the starting gates now, and again it will come fast and hard once it gets started.

  2. Short comments :

    1 – NFC is at the same level as Cloud computing, which barely could qualified for “trough of disillusionment”.

    2 – The Hype cycle depends on the market. They are places in Asia ou in Europe where the graph would be very different in terms of usage, where technology has already been widely adopted. This is US centric.

    3 – Dreaming of a site thay would display the “predictions” from 5 years ago. Would love to see the 2002 and 2007 Gartner hype cycle graph if there is one.

    4 – On the payment side, would love to see EMV/chip cards on this chart, (UHF) RFID would be a great addition too.

    Nice “exercice de style”. Fun to watch and to comment but somehow disconnected from the real business world.

  3. I quite agree with previous two comments. This is a generalization and is not connected to specific geographies. In some countries and areas NFC will be less than 2 years away wile NFC payments will follow in hot pursuit.

    As always, progress will be accelerated or decelerated with changing business cases and new ideas.

    A retro look at past hype-cycles would be fun!

Comments are closed.