The move to contactless systems has been gathering pace for many years. However, only recently has its take-up started to become abundant. Perhaps more than any other factor, the recent emergence of coronavirus has seen a huge increase in the use of technology.
Because of the virus, contactless and NFC payments have been widely adopted as a way to reduce human contact and, hopefully, slow the spread of infection. Paper money has been largely shunned as a possible transmitter of coronavirus – though there are currently multiple conflicting studies suggesting COVID can and cannot be spread on surfaces. Despite this, a sense of fear among populations has made contactless the payment method of choice.
However, the capabilities of touchless and contactless technology go way beyond just the capacity for making payments. Contactless systems are appearing in a huge range of other connected devices these days. Here are just a few of the newest applications for this innovative tech.
Smartwatches and glasses are already relatively common but wearable tech is soon going to include everything from shoes to shirts and jackets – and much of this tech is likely to include NFC as a means of communication. For example, Under Armour is already producing smart shoes capable of recording steps, cadence, pace, and distance and transmitting the data to iPhone or Android devices. In the next few years, we can expect to see a huge variety of connected wearables coming to market – and many will include in-built payment capacities too. Wristbands and rings are likely to be the first to see the change but wearable tech is expected to appear in everything from clothing to accessories too.
Autos and Contactless Tech
The transition away from traditional keys has been on-going for some time in the auto industry. The first moves by manufacturers involved connected fobs, but there is now an increasing trend towards using smartphones and wristbands to unlock vehicles and start engines. Indeed, Volvo recently announced it intends to engineer its entire range to be used with smartphones. Users will simply tap their phones against the door to unlock the vehicle.
Transport Systems, Flight Tickets, and Passports
NFC is already common in most major subway networks around the world. However, experts suggest we can expect to see this same tech extended to flights soon. Many people already use apps to display their boarding passes anyway, but there is every likelihood this will be simplified yet further with contactless tech to recognize and check-in passengers. In addition, many countries have already made the move to e-passports and it seems quite likely virtual passports will soon follow, contained purely on smartphones.
Security and Building Access
Contactless and biometric tech are already in widespread use in building security systems and offer near-bulletproof protection in high-risk environments. Hands-free, touchless and contactless systems simplify Access Control oversight and make it quicker and easier to keep out unwanted visitors. The most common systems in use today range from smartcards to wireless fobs and even contactless hand and facial recognition systems.
Smart Events and Payments
Conventional paper tickets are soon to become of a thing of the past when it comes to events, sports matches, and music concerts. Not only are paper tickets relatively easy to copy, but they are also easily lost or damaged. Smart contactless tickets should also mean an end to the bane of the entertainment industry – ticket touts. Also, smart “tickets” can be used by attendees to buy refreshments or merchandise – or by organizers to offer subsequent rewards or offers to visitors.