Widespread adoption of Near Field Communication technology may take years, but the Smart Card Alliance continues to spread the word as it works to grow merchant and consumer acceptance.

The alliance has formed the Mobile and NFC Council to provide education to organizations offering or implementing NFC applications, according to a May 14 announcement. The council’s mission is to serve as a central body for industry stakeholders to collaborate, share information and network, and to discuss and develop standards for NFC application implementation.

Sixty organizations and 120 individuals have thus far have joined the council, which is guided by a 10-person steering committee represented by the service manager, financial institution, payments, point-of-sale equipment, systems integration and consulting industries, the alliance noted in a press release.

The release cites 2012 Gartner Research data suggesting 100 million smartphones with NFC capability will hit the market in 2012.

The council not only will concentrate on NFC’s payments possibilities, but it will consider its other applications, Randy Vanderhoof, alliance executive director, said in the release. NFC technology also can benefit ticketing, digital-content exchange, secure identification, social networking and communicating between electronic devices, he said.

Both NFC and digital wallets will get high-profile marketing when Visa Inc. and Samsung Electronic Co. promote a wallet and NFC use through Samsung phones provided to athletes and officials at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games (see story).

It’s a boost of awareness for a technology that has a few obstacles to maneuver before becoming mainstream, Matt Simester, managing director at Auriemma Consulting Group’s London office, tells PaymentsSource.

“The technology is tried and tested and robust; the challenge is consumer acceptance,” Simester says. “The tipping point is likely to be wider adoption of e-wallets and m-wallets because that’s the device that will be on the phone. That actually will drive more adoption and more awareness. It will be slow, and to begin with it will be limited to big urban areas where it’s easy to replace terminals and tills.”

Widespread use can only go at the pace of organizations’ schedules of equipment renewal and capital purchase of equipment and terminals, says Simester.

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