At this point I am guessing most of you have heard about or seen the nearly ubiquitous QR codes, and many of you have used them. If you are not familiar with them, go here for more information. But as cool as the QR codes are, there is something even better on the horizon. I am betting most of you have never heard of NFC. NFC stands for Near Field Communications and it is coming and you can tell everyone you heard it here – perhaps first.
Now let me explain – NFC is taking our mobile technology to a whole new level and is already being used quite a bit outside of the United States right now. Many of you already use what is called a smart phone. (My feeling is that no phone is smart, but that is a conversation for another day.) Anyway, most smart phones have a chip in them that allows NFC to take place. Near field communications means that communications can only occur when devices are in very close proximity to each other – close enough for encrypted information to be transferred between the devices. Now if you follow my line of reasoning, the direction that this technology is moving leads to payment systems. A collective of communication and finance companies in Singapore are reportedly pouring $40 million into rolling out this technology across the city.
A smartphone or a tablet with an NFC chip can not only do a credit card transaction but it could also provide added information in settings like a conference, a museum, a retail display. The NFC can also allow close proximity sharing such as a song, a picture or other digital assets.
Ah, now do you start to see the possibilities? How about the new payment system being discussed in Philadelphia. Why not use NFC technology and get on the train by use of your phone. What about keeping your medical history handy? What if the whole history of Philadelphia was displayed in these smart tags that only required your phone to be in close proximity to the tag – you could take your own tour, hear stories about the various historic buildings, see the history on your display come to life.
When is it coming? Soon, although for some of us not soon enough. My prediction is that 2012 will see a real emergence of this technology and you heard it here. Now my question to you: do you see any areas where this technology could be useful to your business?