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NFC Forum offers video to lure competitors

While bar-code technology strikes back

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The NFC Forum will be running a webcast tomorrow in an attempt to drum up interest in its annual competition, but the competition to NFC itself is attracting more interest.

Near Field Communications continues to be a technology looking for a problem to solve, and the annual competitions aren't providing killer applications in the way they should. Meanwhile, bar-codes are developing as a very viable alternative for ticketing - the only market in which NFC has made any progress at all.

This year's competition closes to entries in a month, and the NFC Forum is anxious to avoid extending the deadline, as it was forced to do last year. So the hope is that there are legions of developers who find entering the competition too intimidating, but will be persuaded by a webcast (on Wednesday) explaining the procedure and the benefits of winning (besides the €5,000 prize money).

But the only area in which NFC has seen any success is ticketing, and then only by broadening the definition of "NFC" to encompass existing systems such as London's Oyster card. But bar-code-specialists Masabi and Access IS reckon their latest reader makes NFC redundant, as it can read a bar code from a mobile-phone screen in less than a quarter of a second:

Which, if it performs as demonstrated, makes NFC even less likely to succeed than previously imagined: unless Apple can do something unexpected with the technology next week. ®

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