With the announcement of Angry Bird NFC, the market is moving beyond the hype factor of the mobile wallet and into the real driver for consumer acceptance of NFC systems. NFC Times today posts about a social network in Finland called 6Starz who plans to use NFC to enable “instant social networks” that link strangers as well as friends.
From the post:
“In most of the other services, users can check in to a place without actually being at the place or inside the place; it is enough to be close enough, based on location information,” 6Starz co-founder and CEO Mikko Kerttula said, adding: “Foursquare does show a list of users that have checked in, but that list is not so real time. (And) users of Foursquare do not have status messages. There is no chatting feature.”
Of course, there is a “social commerce,” angle to the planned 6Starz service. Users can receive customized advertisements and offers from the owner or manager of the restaurant, bar or other place where users congregate. They would be able to tap their NFC phones to redeem coupons that the business sends, according to plans.
“A bar owner will have his own Web view to control his place,” said 6Starz’s Kerttula. “Looking into his page, (he can see) who is in, and he can define different kind of advertisements and offers for these people.”
The trial will begin this summer, in conjunction with several restaurant chains: “The first pilot test of the 6Starz service is due to go live at several bars and nightclubs run by leading Finnish restaurant chain Restamax in mid-2011.
“We are always eager to try and test new types of innovations with the objective of boosting our business,” explains Restamax’s Jani Vehka-aho. “Social media and networking are hot topics today, but are often difficult to put into practice, especially, with clear benefits and ROI calculations… There is a promising potential in the 6Starz service as a new concrete means to manage customers via a social network. We are eager to pilot and further develop the service, together with the 6Starz team.”
From the 6Starz press release:
“NFC provides an entirely new way of looking at social networking and customer loyalty. People can create and update their friend connections by merely touching phones, and access place and time dependent information as and when it is required,” says Dr. Mikko Kerttula, CEO and Founder of 6Starz. “Now, as NFC-enabled phones are finally entering the markets from several manufacturers, we are eager to introduce our 6Starz service for end-users, to be used as a new real-time socializing tool and for businesses as a new customer management tool.”
A system for merchant to manage their offers to consumers and have those offers be redeemed on entry into the store location will bring a sense of immediacy and relevant to NFC capabilities that will drive adoption. Its not about replacing your wallet, its about getting more refined offers and coupons based on where you are and what you do. Companies like 6Starz and more mainstream companies like Google will bundle any transaction capabilities with a robust offer management system and that’s what will attract usage.