There's some big money floating around right this minute, all of it aimed directly at NFC venture Isis, a soon to be rival of Google's NFC service known as Google Wallet. Mobile payments will be the way of the future if Japan is any indication, a mobile payment piece of hardware a MUST in every smartphone (and quite a few feature phones too) on the islands if you want to sell a single unit. Bloomberg has some "people with knowledge of the project" who are saying that this investment is set to be a big step toward what Juniper Research says is a $670 billion dollar market by 2015.
Isis has ties to the financial industry, partnerships with Visa, Mastercard, Discover Financial Services, and American Express, so they're certainly legit. Isis formed just this past year and would, if they continue down the road they're on right this moment, allow customers to receive and redeem coupons on their smartphones, check in, tap tags, and all manner of lovely things with NFC chips. Should three of the four main US carriers invest in Isis, certainly they'd see much quicker growth than the several city debut said to be happening next year.
At the moment, Jaymee Johnson, head of marketing for Isis, has the following to say about the company and its currently released future plans:
"Isis remains on track to launch in key markets, including Salt Lake City and Austin, in early- to mid-2012. … We have yet to announce our national rollout plans." - Johnson
Welcome to the future, the NFC-intensive future. Juniper Research also notes that according do their research, by 2014 at least one in five smartphones globally will be utilizing NFC (Near Field Communication) for mobile payment functions. This includes Android (which is already in on the game with the Nexus S), Nokia (which already has NFC on the Nokia C7), BlackBerry, and maybe even Apple's iPhone.
[via Juniper Research]