NFC is something you may have already heard of (kind of a feature new smartphones have), but was not sure what that was. This acronym stands for near field communication, a technology which has been invented not so long ago and which seem to have a bright future. What is so special in it?
Near field communication technology allows easily and intuitively use your smartphone for some special purposes. It provides contactless two-way communication between devices, which are located in close vicinity (1-4 cm) from each other, thus you may send and receive data with that.
Looks like something like Bluetooth? That’s right, but with NFC your device spends much less power and a wireless connection is established quicker. Also, there are no additional barriers like pairing or mutual discovery in NFC. It is easier to set up NFC than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth – it just starts working automatically! No need to launch any application. By the way, due to shorter range, the probability of unwanted interception is reduced to a minimum.
Speaking to the point, NFC uses short radio frequencies to establish automatic wireless connection between two devices.
What Is NFC Used For?
There are three basic application fields of NFC:
1. Card emulation: NFC-enabled device acts like smart proximity cards (used for performing transactions like payments and ticketing)
2. NFC for reading out info: NFC-enabled device reads info stored at RFID tag, embedded in smart posters and labels
3. Peer-to-peer mode: two NFC-enabled devices are connected with each other to exchange information
Currently the most popular applications that make available NFC payment are Google Wallet (for Android devices) and Apple Pay (for iPhones). Though, it should be mentioned that NFC Currently NFC is not fully supported at iOS devices so far. Android has the garland here.
This newly minted technique allows wide options for astute businessmen:
• NFC mobile payments, where a device serves as a contactless bank card. Instead of getting your standard bank card to pay for goods at the till, you may pay with your;
• NFC payment app, installed in your phone;
• Ticketing: Mobile purchases in public transport;
• Reading RFID tags from street boards and ads, similar to QR codes;
• Pairing Bluetooth devices with a single touch of two mobile phones.
Soon it is expected to serve various purposes like e-money, e-commerce, online ticketing, identity cards, travelers’ cards, software protection dongle and other fields of application.
How Do I Know Whether I Have It In My Phone?
Currently, among NFC compatible smartphones we may mention Google’s Nexus S, Samsung’s Galaxy S II and BlackBerry Bold 9900 & 9930. Basically, if you’ve purchased your smartphone within the last year or two, most probably, it has NFC feature embedded. To make sure, check the exhausting list of devices that support the technology.
Stick Tags, not Labels!
There is such a cool thing as NFC tag. It is a microchip that can store small amounts of data, which is supposed to be read by NFC-driven devices. These tags may be attached to various items like entrance doors in offices, movies, restaurants, business cards, wristbands, medication bottles, and more and more.
Where you may see it today? Let’s say you are walking by a coffee house or a beer restaurant, and you see a “spot”. Try to put your mobile device to it, and you will probably receive a discount for your favorite beverage.
What can you do today as a business owner? Implement NFC tags right now. What possibilities do they offer?
Features that may be implemented via NFC tags
With the help of special applications (like Trigger, for instance), you may program NFC tags to perform various tasks or adjust settings, like:
• Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings (including turning on/off GPS, auto-sync etc.)
• Control sound adjustments (profiles, ringtone, volumes, notification tones etc)
• Display options (auto rotation, brightness etc.)
• Social media (checking in with the help of Facebook, Google Places and other check-in services; tweeting)
• Messaging (sending emails, SMS)
• Applications (open/close/pause app, open URL etc.)
• Multimedia (start/stop playing, move to the next media etc.)
• Alarms (setting timers and alarms)
• Events (create events and calendar timestamps)
• Security (activate lock screen)
• Make phone calls
• Create other tasks
What are the benefits of NFC for business?
The first thing many people think of first is convenient way of payment, although the list of benefits is much vaster in fact. Flash-like transactions, easy connections and simple data sharing finds a good use every now and then.
Access control is another feature, which may be used by a company that decided to develop a mobile app with NFC. Many business premises require door security, when only authorized people could be able to enter using a contactless card that is put to a door reader. Specification and automatization of control over staff’s working time forms an integral part of modern resource management.
Any profound NFC technology company sees how to use this technology today and make profit for many layers of our society and many aspects of our everyday routine.
Both public and private sector – manufacturers, advertising agencies retailers, public places, transport companies, theaters… you name it – may benefit from it because NFC simplifies complex digital communication processes. And what is simpler, is more desirable. That means potential increase in revenue streams and better experiences.
There are some security issues that are potentially associated with NFC, however, they are mostly theoretical dangers rather than feasible ones. For example, if someone gets close to you with NFC-enabled device, they may stole the information from our device. In practice, it is difficult to imagine that you allow unknown persons get that close you! Remember that NFC works in 1-4 cm range only.
Another rare, but existing thing is creation of fraud applications, designed to steal your money. Yes, it happens sometimes. Though, it doesn’t mean it will happen to you. Our advice is always to check the source you are getting apps from, as well as the app provider, which must be a trusted one.