Near Field Communication is not new. It’s been around for many years but its initials – NFC – have been making the rounds recently with companies like Nokia, RIM and Samsung rolling out new phones with NFC built in. Google has also put their weight behind it by embracing it as part of the Android OS offering. In fact, they’re also part of the 140 member NFC Forum ( remember when they made the announcement that they were part of the Open Handset Alliance? Look where Android is now… )
But, seriously, why is this such a big deal? Well, I believe the proliferation of apps and the push from handset makers to incorporate NFC into their products makes for a very powerful combination.
Ok ok. SO what is this NFC thing?
You see, NFC is something like your EZ-Link cards. It works at a range of about 4cm which means it’s quite difficult for you to be sitting down in a cafe and have your information ‘stolen’ by someone across the room. He almost has to be touching you to even get some kind of response from your phone.
And on that note, NFC has a transfer rate of between106kbps and 848kbps which might not be that great but couple it with custom applications that developers can create and you get a boatload of possibilities. Imagine being able to share contact information with someone just by tapping your phones. No need to turn on Bump or to do the whole bluetooth pairing process. Or how about being able to find out product information just by tapping the product? At CommunicAsia 2011 earlier today, I saw an implementation of NFC created by Nokia to pair your phone with some speakers. They also had one where you could just tap a headset and the headset would be paired automatically to the phone.
I also saw NFC in action during the Alcatel-Lucent conference where the integrated NFC tags into the conference passes so that attendees can just tap their passes at various exhibition booths and just download relevant brochures from a ‘digital bag’ instead of being given stacks and stacks of brochures. Not just eco-friendly but a great convenience for the attendees.
Oh, and one more thing that’s interesting once people start walking around with NFC devices is the ability for these devices to actually write onto NFC tags/stickers. This means that, unlike QR code which stores static information, the information in a sticker could change from time to time. Imagine if you could walk into your favourite coffee joint and get a surprise deal everyday when you tap the logo of the cafe. How about tables with a NFC stickers where you could leave random notes for strangers… A good way to make new friends perhaps?
Well, the possibilities are endless and I can’t wait for more devices to have NFC and more places to implement NFC as part of their products.
As for me, I am especially excited because I’m currently working on a project and we’re actively look for ways we can incorporate NFC into the experience. ( Plug : If you want to know more about NFC and how your business can start experimenting with it today, drop me a note )
Still not sure what NFC is about? Check out this video by Google. The second half is abit technical but the demos in the first bit are pretty interesting….