NFC is so cool for consumers and brands, and which brands will benefit the most as we enter this new world of mobile commerce.

NFC is a new channel where information and data can be pushed to consumers directly through their mobile phones. It's exciting because it's the convergence of commerce and advertising. In the past, one enabled the other even though marketing and transactions were separate. NFC is one channel that can serve both needs. And it's a big win for marketers - marketing and business objectives will be more tightly aligned.

The fact that Quick Response (QR) codes aren't reliable, it wasn't always obvious to consumers how they could interact with them, and they were clunky at times. NFC has the potential to replace credit and debit cards, loyalty cards, and coupons. And it could be considered another form of advertising, alongside email advertising, banner ads, social media marketing, and traditional advertising. It's a more direct, targeted way of reaching consumers.

NFC will drive demand similar to how LivingSocial, Groupon, and Facebook Deals do. But instead of driving social-buying consumers to try new products and experiences through essentially random spin-the-wheel-type deals, NFC deals will be made in context. NFC is data driven, and deals can be made based not only on a customer's location, but on their purchase history and shopping habits. This is highly targeted, personalized advertising. And with NFC campaigns, marketers will be able to prove ROI on marketing spend more directly. NFC isn't just a cool technology - it seems like the right channel for brands.

Everyday brands in particular - things like toothpaste, cookies, soda, and coffee. For instance, imagine checking in to the supermarket terminals located at the entrance to learn about the daily deals. This could drive purchase behavior; you might buy things you weren't initially planning to, because you'll want to take advantage of the deals. You might head to the toiletries aisle even though you weren't initially planning on it because Crest is on sale that day.

Another practical application for NFC is in malls. A big challenge for malls is effective wayfinding - it's difficult for a retailer who's not in a prime spot to get foot traffic. We could use NFC to push information to customers' mobiles as they walk through malls. Retailers also struggle to use the mall as an advertising channel; there's not a lot they can do in the physical space. But they could use NFC to advertise digitally - to push deals, VIP invites, and announce new product releases to attract customers to their stores. This type of NFC use could be just as effective in theme parks, at expos, and in conference halls.