BMW is looking into integrating NFC technology into its vehicles to allow for greater range of functionality for its keyfobs. While its an interesting start, I imagine its going to take more than opening your door to make NFC an important part of the consumer driving experience.
BMW seems to understand that the NFC keyfob is much more than a door opener. They suggest that you may be able to order a hotel room as you drive, pay for it and then have the ticket electronically stored on your keyfob.
For an exhaustive review of the NFC keyfob and all things ConnectedDrive go to Dexigner. The quick overview: “A BMW Group research prototype demonstrates the kind of possibilities this would open up: these days the key is already able to store tickets for public transport (KeyTicketing) as well as vehicle information (KeyInfo); it can be used to make payments (KeyPayment) and opens not just cars but hotel rooms as well (KeyAccess).”
It seems to me that this is all a half step in the right direction. Engadget remains skeptical as well, “BMW believes its approach is more secure than that of an NFC-enabled cellphone because its system is both closed and encrypted. Possibly. But we’re still more likely to have our cellphone in a pocket while traveling than the key to a car parked a few hundred miles away.”
FastCompoany see the same issues: “There’re only two downsides to this plan that we can see immediately: While the NFC keyfob is definitely a smarter key, it lacks some of the super-smart abilities of a smartphone. That means losing your keys is going to be even more of a pain in the ass, as you may not be able to “remote wipe” your data from the fob. Plus smartphone NFC may be more attractive to retailers than a key NFC, because they can peddle ads, apps, and loyalty card schemes into an app, rather than the display-less BMW keys.”
BMWblog points out the conditions BMW believes are required to make NFC a success: “BMW says the success of NFC and BMW keys are based on future infrastructure, such as payment and ticket terminals across the world.”
I personally don’t see the keyfob as the place for the focusing of effort. Your mobile NFC device is going to be your phone, period. Carrying around a bulky keyfob to check into a hotel or pay for a hotel is such a narrow use. There will be little way to interact with the fob beyond accessing it with a computer which kind of defeats the purpose anyway. I think it would be much more interesting if the car was NFC enabled and the car paid for gas or hotel rooms and then sent the ticket confirmation to your NFC enabled cell phone.