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Apple’s new iPhone a game-changer for event producers

Near-field communication (NFC) – the short-range, wireless technology behind touch-based lead retrieval, access control, session scanning and other applications used at tradeshows, conferences and corporate events – just hit a major milestone.

“Apple’s decision to include NFC in its iPhone 6 is a landmark for U.S. event producers,” said Ivan Lazarev, president and CEO, ITN International. “Apple has made NFC mainstream overnight.”

When the iPhone 6 is released to consumers next week, the NFC chip in the device will support mobile payments, named Apple Pay.  Analysts expect, however, that future releases will open the NFC functionality in the new iPhone to developers of other applications.

“U.S. event producers are going to see a surge of new and important NFC applications, as soon as open NFC in the iPhone is supported,” Lazarev said.

Since 2011, the makers of Android smartphones have shipped all their products with NFC built in, while Apple – with 42 percent of the U.S. smartphone market – shunned the technology.

“NFC has emerged as a key enabling technology at U.S. events,” Lazarev continued. “But until now, its benefits haven’t been easily accessible to all participants, because nearly half carry iPhones.

“For the past four years, we have been enabling exhibitors who use iPhones to capture leads by providing external sleeves that add NFC functionality to the phones. That workaround is effective, but will no longer be needed when every event participant will be carrying an NFC device.”

Apple’s announcement that it will include NFC in the iPhone 6 marks a clear turning point, solidifying the central role NFC will play at events for years to come.

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