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October 01, 2012

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Trevor LaFleche

I couldn't agree more. With significant cost of infrastructure to essentially get a few bits of data from a phone to a terminal it seems like a sledge hammer to crack a nut. Using apps and bar codes and QR codes is a simple real world - now - solution. If it takes years for a technology to take off there is something missing in the value proposition no matter how compelling the benefits might seem.

William Porto

The issue with Bar Codes and QR codes is that they require active participation - the user must launch a code reader app and then focus the camera over the code.

NPC does offer an interesting alternative. Square’s current iteration it requires the user to either launch the app as they enter the store (not much of an improvement over NFC and much slower a process than tapping a credit card) or granting the app continuous access to one’s GPS data – and presumable data stream. Though the later is far more automated, GPS only works with satellite access (leveraging wifi resolves for this). The issue with automated participation is that the consumer will be leaving a “Square” trail as they encounter locations who have adopted this model . To wit, Square will come to know where and when you were. Yes, they will have all their disclaimers of how they don’t store said data or do so anonymously, but the potential for abuse remains.

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