The Promising Future of NFC

What is a NFC Tag?

Near Field Communication, also known as NFC, is the communicative technology that wirelessly transfers data between NFC-equipped objects and NFC-enabled devices. With NFC technology, any physical item becomes “smart” by programming it with a digital experience uniquely designed for each product.

Near Field Communication (NFC) Tag

NFC tags are made up of a small storage memory, radio chip, and an antenna, and can be read at the maximum range of about 10 centimeters or 4 inches. [1] Within this radius, NFC-enabled devices can instantly pick up the electromagnetic waves and wirelessly transfer data stored in the tag. The data retrieved is displayed as the “digital experience.” Such experiences permit individuals access to the customized digital resources intended to provide deeper engagement between the object and the user.

Potential Applications of NFC Tags

NFC is an established communication technology, already being widely used today. For example, Android, Apple, and Samsung Pay are notable uses of NFC technology that facilitate easy and secure transfer of payment between consumers and POS systems with just one tap. [2] Another great example of NFC utilization is the use of dual-sensor enabled smart badges to boost event attendee engagement. Badges can be NFC enabled with a digital experience that provides conference materials, contextual content, such as event agenda, and real-time information, including local weather updates, social media feeds and nearby locations [3].

NFC tags are also easy to implement given their small size and inexpensive cost. They can be attached to variety of products: “posters, ski lift passes, stickers, business cards, prescription bottles and even ruggedized labels meant for outdoor use.” [4] Enabling these products with customized and contextual information maximizes customer satisfaction on an individual basis, and provides companies with the cutting-edge competitive advantage they need. Possibilities are endless, as experiences can be programmed with any sort of digital content, and can store a wide range of data, including product information, pictures, video, contact information, and links to mobile apps.

Examples of NFC Applications

What are some other possible uses of NFC tags you may ask? NFC enabled promotional flyers can create automatic calendar invites with necessary information when users interact with it. At the same time, users can receive a signup link for exclusive offers to and updates on future events. Or, at their favorite retail store, users can tap their mobile device to an NFC enabled product to receive in-depth product information, along with celebrity endorsed videos and how-to instructions to maximize product usage. [5] A third example of NFC use is a smart business card that when tapped gives access to necessary documents about yourself, such as your resume, media profiles, and publications. It doesn’t stop there: NFC can also revolutionize the way we manage packaging, organize or store all printed documents, and deliver brand messaging.

Latest News and its Implications

Apple Opens NFC Reads for iOS 11

Apple recently unlocked NFC to function between apps and the physical world. iPhone 7 and newer versions that support iOS 11+ beta software will be able to read and support NFC. [6] This news means NFC now works across both iOS and Android. Furthermore, it’s expected that the use of NFC tags for iPhone users will increase at a rapid pace; since Apple has been selling the hardware capability for over a year, NFC enablement is now just a matter of software updates. [7]

“With the widespread reach of NFC phones, NFC tags could one day become as commonplace as bar codes.” [8] NFC will revolutionize the ways in which we interact with physical items. [9] There’s no better time than now for businesses to strategize how they can implement NFC to boost their products.

Imagine what can be created when a whole digital world of experience is just a simple tap away.

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