Friday, February 7, 2014
Near Field Communication (NFC) is rapidly replacing some of the items in our wallet we thought we could never do without. For many it’s been a shockingly fast change that’s left people reeling. So what is NFC, and how can it work for us?
At its most basic, NFC can be explained as extremely short range radio communication. The range can be as short as a couple of centimetres, and many transmitters must be touching the device they’re talking to in order to share information. At first this seems like a strange technology to develop, as we can communicate around the world in moments. In fact, a whole new technology is moving away from radio communication. It’s actually a very important development, though. There are some tasks you simply don’t want a device to be able to carry out accidentally or over a long range.
One of the most famous instances of NFC is that used by contactless debit cards. The concept has taken off after some initial cynicism and is working very well. However, you certainly wouldn’t want the transmission to work over too long a distance, potentially authorising payments for another shopper’s goods or on purchases you didn’t intend to make.
Goodbye stuffed wallet
As NFC develops, there are more and more smart phone apps using it which do away with the need for several of the things that overfill people’s wallets. There’s an app that lets you store your loyalty cards on your phone, for instance, which saves quite a bit of space if you shop in several places. Bus passes, money or vouchers and all manner of things could easily be replaced in the near future and be activated by moving your phone near a reader and perhaps entering a PIN or password.
If you’re adopting the technology, you need to be careful if you like thick and strong phone cases that they’re not over covered with things that make them too thick for the technology to work effectively. However, most phone cases work perfectly well with NFC, even the special protective ones.
One of the fun applications of the NFC technology is the ability to exchange information with others via smart phones, if you give the appropriate permission. In effect, this means that with the right apps, you can connect with people you meet in social or business situations. You might be able to network with people, adding them to LinkedIn or Facebook, for example, with minimum effort and no scrolling through lots of people with the same name in the hope of not contacting the wrong one. No more lost business cards or forgetting a vital name in an anxious moment. The potential networking ramifications are huge.
With an interest in digital marketing, fitness and technology Monika Grzankowska regularly shares his knowledge and tips on various blogs, including Mr Nutcase