Near Field Communication (NFC) is one of the top emerging technologies in this decade, but it is surprising to me how many people still do not understand what it is, or how it is used. Even when I discuss NFC with people who carry NFC enabled smart phones, they seem to be oblivious to this new tech resting in their pockets.
In its simplest terms, NFC enabled phones carry a tiny RFID reader inside of them, which allows for a secure short range communication between your smart phone and another NFC enabled device. In other words, it allows your phone to “talk” directly to another device automatically when the devices are put within a few centimeters of each other. This process opens up an infinite number of possibilities for brand new applications using NFC Phones:
1) Access Control – Do you work in an office building where you need a key card to get in the front door? With an NFC enabled smart phone and HID Digital Access Control cards, you can throw away your building access card. Just wave your phone in front of the access control terminal and see the door unlock. It’s that easy!
2) Gift and Loyalty – If you are like me, your purse or wallet is filled with different loyalty cards from a hundred different vendors. But imagine a world where all of your loyalty cards were kept neatly organized in an app, rather than a bulging leather brick that makes it uncomfortable to sit down. All you would have to do is swipe your phone at the register of your favorite book store or ice cream shop, and your phone would automatically select the correct card for that vendor. Doesn’t that sound nice?
3) Payments – The most talked about aspect of NFC technology is undoubtedly mobile payment. One day very soon, NFC enabled smart phones will be an acceptable method of payment for most vendors in the country. The process has already begun with Google and ISIS Wallet apps. It is just a matter of time before consumers realize their phone can double as their credit card.
4) Transportation – My city just adopted a contactless smart card system for our public trolley system. I would venture to guess that your city has something similar as well. Well guess what? One day soon, you can throw that card away as well, and swipe your phone to get on the bus or train at any time. No more showing up early and waiting in line to buy a ticket. With NFC, you can swipe and ride at any time.
5) Healthcare – If you are like me, you hate filling out forms at the doctor’s office and giving your insurance information to receptionists before an appointment. NFC could revolutionize the medical industry by securely storing patient information as well as insurance carrier info that is too sensitive to be placed on an insurance card. Image showing up to a doctor’s office, swiping your phone against a terminal, and relaxing with a magazine before your appointment instead of doing endless paperwork. NFC is here to make this a reality.
These are just a few of the top ways in which NFC can be used in the real world. Everyday more developers and consumers are taking their ideas and putting them into action, creating new, innovative ways to utilize this great technology.
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