What Apple’s support for NFC and QR means for marketers

What Apple’s support for NFC and QR means for marketers

Hidden inside Apple’s 2-hour developer conference yesterday were two announcements that should bring a sigh of relief to anyone with an interest in creating connections between the physical world and digital content and services.

Amongst many other improvements to the iOS operating system, the next version (available in Autumn) will include NFC reader mode and QR code support.

The details are scant at this stage, with the company slowly releasing information about the new features this week, but it appears that apps on iPhone 7 devices will finally be able to detect and read NFC tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it, bringing them in line with Android phones. For example, an app could give store or museum visitors information about products or exhibits, or connect them to payment and donation services. We’ve already started the process of building the new functionality into our iOS app and SDKs.

The QR code situation is less clear right now. It featured on Apple SVP Craig Federighi’s final slide on stage (92m48s in – blink and you’ll miss it), and was mentioned briefly in the context of new features for users in China. However, there are already reports and screenshots on social media showing that QR code support is available in the camera app elsewhere in the world (a video posted by @rjonesy appears below). We’ll update this post as things get confirmed.

Both announcements have significant potential for marketers who’ve struggled to deal with the barriers to adoption of NFC and QR for Apple-toting consumers (Android users have had no such issues). We believe that it will further make tapping or scanning an object with a smartphone to get information or make mobile payments as familiar as sending a text or making a phone call.

Our focus is now on ensuring anyone using our platform can take advantage of these developments with the minimum of effort or fuss, allowing them to concentrate on creating digital content and services that deliver value and campaigns that encourage engagement, safe in the knowledge that – whichever method people use to interact – the technology aspects will just work.