The number of NFC-enabled devices will pass 500 million within 12 months, according to ABI Research, thanks to the efforts of OEMs.
The report said a minimum of 285 million NFC-based mobile and consumer electronics devices will be shipped in 2013, as device vendors push the market forward.
Meanwhile mobile operators “struggle to gain control and bring their services to market”, it said.
ABI said vendors, predominantly Android OEMs, delivered new services and features in 2012 that used NFC to connect devices, share content and access information from tags.
In contrast, mobile operators stayed focused on NFC as a means to make mobile payments, a market where they have struggled to deliver tangible services, said ABI.
John Devlin, ABI’s practice director, said hitting 500 million devices will be a turning point for NFC: “It all hinged on handsets and next year we will see half-a-billion devices in the hands of consumers as it [NFC] becomes more widely integrated.”
“Up until this point banks and other service partners were holding back from committing to MNOs and it has always surprised me that they did not drive this forward themselves and invest to take charge of this market’s potential,” he said
The report breaks vendors into two groups. Some such as BlackBerry and Samsung are looking to generate new service-based revenues from NFC. Others such as LG and Sony are offering the technology as a feature which they integrate horizontally across their product portfolios.
Use of NFC by device vendors has extended from smartphones and tablets into PC and peripherals, speaker docks, TVs, cameras, gaming and domestic appliances.