Near Field Communication technology catches up in Kenya

Kenyans today embrace the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology more than before thanks to the advancements in mobile and Internet technology, credited for having transformed the society into a more a cashless transaction economy.

NFC is a form of contactless communication between devices like smartphones, tablets or other device with wireless communication methods such as Bluetooth and Infra Red.

NFC-compatible devices can send information without having to slide the devices on each other or go through multiple steps setting up a connection.

Africa is slowly embracing this technology, considering that the number of NFC compatible phones is on the increase. Some of the latest smartphones come with NFC hardware installed, enabling users to transform their cell phones into virtual wallets and credit cards that can be used for everyday transactions.

In Kenya for example, Google partnered with a transport company, Citi Hoppa, in a pilot program in testing NFC technology on some of its routes via an electronic fare remittal system dubbed Beba Beba that enables commuters to pay for their transport using an electronic card.

If successful, the product is set to be rolled out most of the routes in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, before the national roll-out.

However, according to Kimani Waiganjo, a networks administrator at an Internet company called Bright Connections, NFC is dependent on the adoption and availability of NFC- compatible smart phones among consumers.

“The reason it is so widespread in more developed countries is that smart phone penetration in those countries is deeper and when retailers and service providers install NFC -scanning hardware, they are sure to have clients who will make use of them,” Kimani explained to Business Daily Africa, where this story first appeared.

Kenya has attracted the attention of many smartphone manufacturers, with the likes of LG, Nokia and Samsung launching some of their latest products in the market, including Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nokia’s Asha brands.

NFC comes with a number of advantages including convenience and fast transactions ranking top. The technology also rids the use of third parties, since transaction happens between two devices within a close proximity. The communication is via radio frequency, assuring users of security.

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