NFC and Ultrabooks as Point of Sale Systems

Along with other innovative Ultrabook technologies introduced at IDF 2012 in San Francisco, we heard about the implementation of NFC (Near Field Communication) as part of an upcoming Ultrabook release. Basically, what this means is that an Ultrabook can be used as a virtual cash register – no buttons, touching, or input required, safely and securely. Let’s talk about what this could look like on an Ultrabook, and how it could potentially affect developers.

What is NFC?

NFC has been around for smartphones and tablets for a while now, and Ultrabook implementation is the natural next step. Near Field Communication enables two devices to be able to “talk” to each other with or without touching, usually at close range. There’s quite a few applications of this technology already out there, for example, zero-contact payment systems, e-ticket smartcards, mobile payments, virtual wallets, public transport, box offices, and more.

Intel, MasterCard, PayPass, Oh My!

The next wave of Ultrabooks will have NFC integration. Intel has partnered with MasterCard to take advantage of this technology, enabling Ultrabooks to process mobile payments via MasterCard’s PayPass.  You might be familiar with PayPass if you’ve ever been at a store that invited you to tap your credit card (versus swiping) in order to complete a payment. Now, with NFC-enabled Ultrabooks, all your secure information is pre-filled and stored in the cloud, enabling Ultrabook consumers to shop without having to fill out information that’s already been provided pre-purchase.

This partnership between Intel and MasterCard brings together the best of payment processing and innovative security. Online merchants will benefit from having a more streamlined checkout process provided for their customers, and end users will benefit from using their Ultrabooks as a one-stop easy shopping hub.  Additionally, both companies are working together to further develop secure payment technologies, namely Intel Identity Protection Technology (two-factor authentication, hardware-based protection). When used along with PayPass, Ultrabook users will be able to protect their financial identities, making the entire e-commerce experience more secure.

PayPass along with Intel’s secure identity and protection technology makes sure that everything – consumers, storefront, and device – is properly connected and protected. Simply by tapping a credit card against the Ultrabook, payment details are automatically filled in.

In the NFC payment demo at IDF, an Intel rep used an NFC-enabled Ultrabook to buy a computer online. Two things are needed in order to make these transactions: an NFC-enabled Ultrabook, and an NFC-enabled MasterCard with PayPass. NFC in and of itself is a great technology, however, partnered with sophisticated cyphers, the PayPass security cloud, Intel identity protection and device level authentication, and it goes to a whole new level of safe shopping.

video courtesy YouTube user laptopmag

Developers, NFC, and Ultrabooks

Developers already have a lot to work with in regards to Ultrabook features: a touch-enabled interface, voice activation, and gesture control, just to name a few. However, to give developers even more to get excited about, Intel has announced a new hardware developer platform code-named “Harris Beach” that will be delivered to developers soon. Imagining the possibilities that developers can come up with for these features, integrating them in their apps and presenting world-class, innovative apps to end users, is truly mind-boggling to think about. 

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