Poken helping Nokia with its NFC vision
Posted by Seth PlanckJuly 29th, 2011 at 10:50 PM Filed Under Latest News, Videos
Poken helping Nokia with its NFC vision
Nokia and Switzerland-based startup Poken have teamed up to bring everything NFC, aside from payments, to Nokia’s product offerings. Nokia has been playing around with NFC for years now but in the last few months has become serious about bringing the technology to the masses. We have seen phones released, announced or rumored such as the Nokia C7 / Astound, the Nokia N9, N5, Zeta and Cindy. Yes, Nokia is chasing the NFC opportunity with great gusto and to help it become a formidable force with NFC it has partnered with a couple of firms. We already know that the Norfolk based firm Proxama, who has worked with Nokia to bring NFC sweetness to its NFC smartphones. But now we learn about a bigger part of its strategy that involves Poken.
Nokia has stayed away from NFC mobile wallets and so has Poken
Over the next 18 months, Nokia is projected to ship more than 100 million NFC-enabled smartphones globally. So far all Nokia phones have shipped without secure elements or support for the Single Wire Protocol (SWP), which would provide support for an NFC SIM issued by a mobile network operator, mobile payments are off the table. Of course, this could be remedied with a software update, but it does beg the question, what is Nokia planning to have users do with the NFC capabilities built into their phones. That’s where Poken comes in.
We reported a few weeks ago that Nokia intended to send out a software update for the Nokia C7 or Astound to enable the NFC functionality. What we didn’t know at the time is that the update does more than simply enable the NFC chip inside the smartphone. Poken has created an app, PokenMOBILE, that is poised to be Nokia’s core NFC app. Sometime this next month, the PokenMOBILE NFC app will be pushed to Nokia NFC phones, so C7 will be benefiting from Nokia’s “Symbian Anna” upgrade. The app is also set to be preloaded on all future Nokia NFC handsets that run on the Symbian or MeeGo OS, such as the N9, N5, Zeta and Cindy. Nokia Windows smartphones probably won’t have NFC until WP8 is released in 2012.
Poken helps Nokia stimulate interest in NFC outside NFC mobile wallets
Here at NFC Rumors we always try to convey how NFC goes well beyond payments and will impact our lives in far more ways. From connections to other devices to interactions with marketing collateral, NFC is set to be the close range contactless protocol of choice. Poken built the PokenMOBILE app to utilize some of the more frictionless aspects of NFC which makes it easy to exchange information on the fly. Nokia NFC phone owners simply place their phones in close proximity to each other and are able to exchange profiles. Up to 60 social networks are supported, including Facebook and Twitter. Nokia NFC phone owners will also be able to collect data about products, places and upcoming events by passing their phones over NFC stickers that Poken is calling PokenTAGs. This will allow users to share that information with friends and contacts through an “activity feed” just like Facebook’s wall.
Poken’s CEO, Stéphane Doutriaux, feels that NFC-based mobile payments won’t be widely adopted for several years due to the cost and hassle of building out the required infrastructure. “Very few people will use ‘secure NFC’ in the next two years,” he said. “By the time people replace their current phone, they may not have even noticed they had a secure NFC element in it.” We don’t agree with this sentiment and in fact are seeing the likes of Visa, Isis and Google building out infrastrucure with companies like FirstData and Verifone as a rapid pace for NC mobile wallets. This, however, does not negate the value of what Poken is doing for NFC in area’s outside of payments.
Because NFC payments are not widespread right now, Doutriaux feels it is better to concentrate on the other areas of NFC’s capabilities. “Customers are discovering NFC now and want to explore it in a fun, social way,” said Doutriaux. “They don’t want to test something they don’t understand yet with their bank cards,” said Doutriaux in an interview with Forbes.
Nokia is helping Poken grow and Poken is helping Nokia bring NFC to the masses. “NFC is a global standard but making a business of it is local,” Doutriaux shared. “We think it will be a lot easier to work with Nokia, which has local teams and offices, and make a success.” concluded Doutriaux.
Poken is not exclusive to Nokia and is working on an Android app with the same features. Poken also expects to build an NFC app for iOS when iPhones and iPads are NFC capable. Until then, it is Nokia users who will benefit from Poken’s take on NFC.