NFC (Near Field Communication) is a data sharing technology that comes in the form of a chip. It allows 2 devices to wirelessly transmit information by simply being in proximity of one another. This concept is similar to Bluetooth technology with one major difference. This difference being that only one device needs to be “battery powered”, let me explain. Bluetooth requires 2 devices to be charged and in an active (Power on) state in order to successfully communicate data. With NFC, one device can be idle without any charge or charging capability. The very interaction of a NFC data transfer sends an electric magnetic charge to the idle device which powers it long enough to complete the data transfer. In other words, the active device lends power to the idle device until the data exchange is complete.
What are the benefits?
NFC technology comes with both pros and cons. The most notable drawback is the range of the signal, hence, its name “Near Field Communication”. To put this into perspective, Bluetooth allows a range of around 1,000 CM for data sharing, depending on device capabilities, while NFC’s range…... is about 10 CM. On the plus side, NFC data transfer/connectivity is much faster than Bluetooth and much simpler. A simple tap of 2 devices will complete the data exchange instantly. As mentioned above, the other huge advantage of NFC is the fact that only one device needs to be active. Keep in mind that both devices can still be in an active state to allow for more data sharing options. For those worried about security, data sharing only occurs if the active device or devices have NFC connectivity enabled. Furthermore, its weakness of range helps in its security. It’s much harder for thieves to try and steal your digital information if they need bring a device within 10 CM of your own…. that can get kind of awkward.
How is it used today?
Many people don’t realize it, but they use NFC technology almost every day. The vast majority of smart phones and other smart devices have NFC built in. This technology is the catalyst of apple and google pay transactions. Have you ever used the tap option on your credit or debit card? That wonderful feature is also NFC technology. If you can recall any time where you needed to tap one of your devices to perform a digital action it was most likely NFC. There are other scenarios that use this technology, but they are more niche in their nature. One of these scenarios include NFC capable pens. They are mostly utilized to direct individuals to predetermined landing pages.
How you can benefit
NFC is very underutilized in the current business world. This scarcity is understandable in the consumer space, considering most of their wireless needs rely on distances out of NFC range. Even though NFC integration is a tricky business there are ways to exploit the technology to increase consumer engagement with your brand. One way, which was touched upon above, is to embed links to your website into giveaway items. You could Also have seasonal catalogs loaded into NFC chips. For example, one of your customers buys a bag and their friend likes it so much that they would like to purchase one for themselves but does not where to go. Easy! All they need to do is tap their phone on the strap of the bag and the catalog associated with that bag will download onto their phone. This is a great introduction for those not familiar with the concept and new technologies seem to always generate excitement. The current market might be scarce, However, going forward, several markets might soon become heavily populated with the technology. NFC embedded business cards and door locks are already great ideas starting to gain traction and might soon become the norm so start getting ahead of the competition.