It is more convenient than ever before for people around the world to remain in constant contact with one another and this is thanks (in part) to the modern smartphone. Everyone from your infant child to your grandmother has probably got a handset (which they likely plan their lives around) and the ease of communication has (as a result) become something we almost take for granted. These are not just devices through which we can keep in touch with each other though, by now we should all be aware that they are capable than far more than just that.
Near field communication is (in layman's terms) a standard of radio communication, which allows devices within close proximity of each other (up to around 10cm) to communicate. This means that if your smartphone is nfc enabled, it can interact with other nfc enabled devices or specific nfc tags, which work in a similar manner to the less advanced (and far less reliable) QE code standard. Near field communication is a far more advanced and flexible standard, and because almost the entire western world now owns a smartphone, the user base is practically infinite.
Below we will explore just a handful of the potential uses of near field communication.
Social networking has become an important part of our everyday lives, even if you don't WANT to admit it. Using the nfc standard, phones will be able to communicate with each other, sharing photos, videos and text files or even starting multiplayer games. Social networking sites can also be setup to recognise specific nfc tags (explained in more detail later). In theory this is very similar to the bluetooth standard, but bluetooth operates on a wider scale whereas nfc is limited to a far shorter distance. Of course this might lead many to believe that bluetooth is the superior standard, but near field communication is not only more stable, it is also far easier to setup and use and has a lesser chance of interference.
Perhaps the most exciting (and popular) use of near field communication right now is using the standard as a means of making contact-less payments. Using your phone almost as a credit card, nfc will allow you to make a payment using just your handset. Many companies across the world have already started implementing contact-less phone payment systems and Italy have even started using near field communication in their public transport system. A similar system can also be used to make nfc enabled phones act like keycards or ID's, which means in the future we might never have to carry a single card around with us. And won't that extra wallet space feel good!
Besides the convenience offered, smartphones also provide businesses with promotional possibilities that were previously unheard of, one of the most exciting and cost-effective being the use of nfc tags. Using near field communication, your phone can be paired with nfc tags, stickers or markers, which can be programmed by bespoke 'apps' to activate a certain task on your phone. This could be anything from changing your phones settings, to opening a specific program, or creating and sending you a text (a voucher for example). The possibilities for nfc tags are almost limitless, and as the standard becomes more and more popular, businesses who don't start using them will be left in the dust.
As you can see, the unique applications are as exciting as they are convenient and as more phone companies start to latch on to the benefits of using near field communication and nfc tags, they will only increase in both volume and quality. So don't get left behind!