Near Field Communication Frequently Asked Questions

Part of the reason I have decided to put together this blog is because every time a new technology is introduced, especially a new technology with this much hype behind it, people have a lot of questions. Questions that inevitably end up flooding my mailbox daily. Dutifully I answer emails (hopefully with a link to something I have been paid to write) and I don’t see my friends or family for days as I handle the collective worry of those who are relatively certain the end is nigh.  

Once Near Field Communication hits the US in the way it has hit Japan and is hitting the UK, I know no matter what I do I will be inundated with requests for information, however, there are some questions which I predict long before even using NFC to complete a transaction. Here are a list of these questions with the answers and please, if they answer your question, please let that be enough. I would like to see my family next year.

What’s NFC?

Near field communication is a technology that allows two NFC enabled devices to transfer information from one device to another. The reason it is called “near field” is that the two devices have to be within a certain distance from one another in order for the information to be transferred. This is not due to limitations on the NFC chip, but rather concerns for security.

When Was It Invented?

There is no definite date on which NFC was invented because it is really an incremental advancement of Radio Frequency Identification. What is known, however, is that it has been around for over a decade and is gaining popularity because the affordability of NFC chips has recently risen. Now able to be included in a phone at a reasonable price, the mass appeal of NFC will continue to increase.

Why Should They Be Used?

The answers to this question fall into two categories: Business and Private. 

Businesses are extremely interested in NFC for a few reasons. First, it will make transactions at the point of sale quicker and more convenient for the customer. Second, businesses can include NFC chips in their advertisement posters, increasing foot traffic as well as the likelihood of conversion. Finally, NFC chips allow for unprecedented amounts of information being gathered on a businesses customers, and that information can be used to determine future advertisement campaigns as well the effectiveness of current campaigns.

Private individuals can use NFC as a great way to share information. One of the more inconvenient things about even the most convenient smartphones is the transfer of information. We currently, if we do not have NFC enabled phones, must transfer information using the same technologies we have for PC work. We must gather the information into an email (or text) and send it. Not that intuitive. With NFC, however, you transfer information with a very intuitive gesture. Want your friend’s phone to have your contact information? Touch your friend’s phone with yours. Simple.

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