Making life easier, Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that allows devices, usually Smartphones, within a short range to collect data and communicate quickly. NFC enabled Smartphones are like contactless mobile payment systems replacing physical money. It is also similar to the Bluetooth technology where no pairing is needed and a simple touch can connect two devices. Within the next three years, Smartphone users will not need to carry physical cash and will use NFC enable Smartphones for mobile payments, data transfers and network setups.
With intuitive and interoperable features,NFC will have a huge impact on consumer behavior in the future. Heng Sang, China UnionPay, Sber Bank, and China Mobile are some of the companies that are already using NFC services.
Key Sectors where NFC can be used
If you think NFC is only good for Google Wallet, think again. NFC tags when used with NFC enabled Smartphones can use this sprouting technology in unique ways.
Smart mobility features will enhance customer experience and deliver relevant and personalized services. From booking tickets, getting boarding passes, baggage tagging, and security check to boarding the airplane, everything will be possible with Smartphones featuring NFC. NFC tags will be used for simple and convenient contactless transactions such as payments or airline boarding. In 2011, SAS Scandinavian Airlines embraced Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow its frequent flyers to use their mobile phones as Smart Pass. Smart Pass is custom NFC tag used as wireless transmitter on the back of the flyers phone. These tags were used across the airport at self-service kiosks, security, fast track lanes, lounges, and gate facilities.
NFC enabled Smartphones will also be used for carrying out secure transactions across the airport. These Smartphones can hold credit card data, passenger information including boarding pass and identity documents.
NFC will replace the most popular way of withdrawing money and making payments - credit/debit cards. The experience will be easier, faster and will attract customers with its convenience.
Contactless banking cards will become more and more common, and NFC enabled Smartphones will act like contactless cards. In a few years, banks will replace bank ATM cards with NFC Smartphones. Instead of inserting ATM cards, customers will be able to use tap and go technique on the ATM screen. This initial NFC handshake will be able to pull out all personal and banking details from the Smartphone. Once the customer is authenticated, the card will build a direct link to the bank accounts through the NFC technology.
NFC enabled tags will help shoppers locate an item by aisle, track a shop and find deals or discounts at malls and supermarkets. Mall and supermarket owners will be able to target similar products right at the time of purchase based on information from the current purchase and the consumer profile. Shoppers will be able to use NFC enabled Smartphones to inform and recommend products/services to their friends on social networks. Social networking sites will encourage and tempt new shoppers into stores and drive sales for the retailers. A French supermarket chain Casino is already using NFC platform for visually challenged customers and is planning to use the platform for the general public in the next few years.
NFC enabled Smartphones will be able to transmit data, such as blood pressure monitors, sugar monitors etc., from health monitoring devices. The health data of the consumer sent over the network will be processed and sent to the healthcare providers who will evaluate and send his/her advice over the phone. This promising technology will also be used in hospitals by doctors, nurses and patients. Doctors using Smartphones with NFC will be able to keep track of the patients visited and decide the treatment a patient should receive based on the medical history in these phones. Each staff member with NFC-capable mobile phone will be able to access relevant machines, rooms and patients. Nurses will be able to check doctorâs advice and give medication. Patients with NFC capable phones will be easily identified and important information about them will be quickly transmitted to the caregiver. A leading public hospital located in Lancaster, California has implemented an innovative mobile technology platform developed by NIIT Technologies, offering automated online bill paying, records management, pre-registration, scheduling and targeted communication with patients.
As transportation management software solution, NFC enabled Smartphones will offer a new driving experience by connecting external NFC-compliant devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops with car keys.Beyond authentication, Smartphones will be able to unlock the car, and enable your preferences;climate control, radio and seat-positioning settings, itinerary destinations and favorite restaurants. The cars keys will also be able to record the GPS coordinates of the cars parking position and using Google map will help you locate it. Car users will not have to remember the fuel level or the car service history. The entire information will be stored on the car keys and transferred to your NFC enabled Smartphone. The smart keys will generate relevant messages on Smartphone to inform users.
Drivers will be able to find destinations at the comfort of their home and transfer the data into the car key via NFC. Once the data is available, it can be automatically uploaded from the key to the car navigation system.
The Future of NFC
According to some industry experts and analysts, near field communication (NFC) has not hit the mainstream. It has gained traction in Europe and Asia, especially Japan, but will take another 3-5 years to catch up in other parts of the world.
Companies developing Smartphones are updating their phones with latest developments in NFC. However, even with change in technical infrastructure there is a need to change consumer behavior.