The Near Field Communication Actors

By Robert R. Sabella

Near Field Communication (NFC) operates within a business ecosystem. An ecosystem is simply a set of rules that determines the behavior of the actors within that system.

Originally, the term referred to natural environments where factors such as food availability, birth rate, and the number of predators determined the ability of a species to survive. In a business ecosystem, you must look at other factors, such as the productivity that a technology provides to those using it, and determine whether the technology can survive the onslaught of competition. In the case of NFC, you must consider the actors who interact with the technology:

  • Consumer: An entity (human or technological) who relies on NFC as an information source. Whether the consumer uses that information to make a purchase, obtain facts from a kiosk, or gain access to a resource, the entity relies on NFC to provide the required information (outgoing or incoming). Think of a gazelle placidly browsing on the Serengeti.
  • Producer: An entity who creates NFC technologies for sale to a customer. Because NFC is still an emerging technology, you can count on finding more producers providing interesting products in the future. Think of Mother Nature using evolution to create interesting new food sources for the gazelle.
  • Customer: An entity who uses NFC to create information for a consumer or obtain information from a consumer. Someone who wants to sell something to someone will begin by offering information about the product and potentially provide coupons at a kiosk or other location. When the consumer decides to make the purchase, the customer will obtain the consumer’s credit or debit card information. Of course, this scenario takes place in all sorts of other ways, too. Think of the customer as the food source for the gazelle.
  • Competitor: An entity who wants to keep NFC sales to a minimum and convince you that other technologies work far better. Competitors are the lions of the business ecosystem — it’s best just to stay out of their way.
  • Other stakeholders: The NFC business ecosystem has all sorts of other actors that you’ll meet as the book progresses. For now, think of them as the tourists and guides watching the gazelle and trying to determine whether the lion will eat it.