What Can Near Field Communication Do?

Okay, if you have read my last post, you hopefully have a better understanding of what near field communication is. The only real way for most people to understand what it is, though, is by knowing what it does, and more accurately, what it can do. When I describe my current project (this blog) to friends, I’m usually met with feigned interest and then a gradual glossing over of the eyes. I don’t mind. Trust me, I’d rather have to look at that blank expression when I’m describing this stuff than when I’m talking about a new book project. But then I show them what it can do, usually through a Youtube video or something, and I have them. They want to know more, and there aren’t a hell of a lot of reputable places to find that information, hence this blog.

So, what can Near Field Communication do? At the risk of sounding like a used car salesman (no offence to use car salesmen), given enough time, what can’t it do? Here are some of the applications you are likely to see in the near future.

Entertainment

Usually I’m not a fan of advancements for the sake of advancements. If it doesn’t make my life significantly easier, why should I care about some new piece of tech? Well, let me just say that this doesn’t make your life significantly easier. In fact, I doubt it will make your life easier in the slightest, but there is a novelty factor I haven’t seen since the iPod Shuffle. Basically, the NFC chips are so small that they can be attached to anything, even movie and television show promotion posters. I’ve only ever seen this in a Youtube video, but if you want to see an exclusive trailer of a movie, you just have to hold the phone up to the poster, wait a second, and the trailer starts playing. This is great technology, especially for the movie theater industry, which is suffering right now, because not only does it generate hype about a particular movie, but it gets people in the door. Imagine you are an independent theater and in your “Now Playing” display at the door is a poster which might as well be a television screen because it’s entire purpose is to play the movie trailer for anyone who would like to see it. A couple strolls by, watches the trailer, and decides to give it a shot. Give them some soda and popcorn and there’s one sale you would not have gotten without NFC.

Exchanging Information

I know I’m not the only person with this opinion, but I’m kind of sick of people sharing information. I go on Facebook (which probably makes me a hypocrite now that I think about it) and see that my friend just did something amazing on Farmville, his wife is pregnant, his dog looks strikingly like his Aunt Edna, and “The Celtics Rawk!”. Too much information, friend I haven’t spoken to since high school, too much information. 

If, however, you don’t share my old man sentiments, I understand, and NFC is probably perfect for you. It used to be, back when I was young and we didn’t have these new-fangled gadgets, that there was no greater joy than having someone of the opposite sex write his or her name on your hand. You would find the nearest piece of paper and if before you could find one you put your hand in your pocket, you spent all night dialing 555-35… and guessing every possible combination until you got it right. Or maybe I just shared too much information myself. Regardless, now you can share your information, be that contact information, your Facebook profile, your eHarmony profile, whatever, with someone simply by holding up your NFC-enabled phone to another person’s NFC-enabled phone and like magic your information has been shared.

Payment

I can’t tell if this is going to be the first way we use NFC in our lives or the last. The technology is there for you to just swipe your NFC-enabled phone over a reader and pay for your purchase that way. The trouble is getting multi-billion dollar corporations to pay for everything that goes into overhauling the entire way we read and transfer credit card information. Basically that’s it, though. The day will probably come when you will go up to the register, wave your phone, and presto chango, you have paid.

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