The beauty and utility of NFC — a short-range, wireless communication standard — can be summed up in three primary purposes: sharing, pairing and transactions. NFC can turn your phone into a digital wallet, become a master key for everything from your house to your car, or serve as a government or corporate identification badge. And that’s just for starters.
1> NFC Pays Your Way
Chuck your cash in the trash and snip every last credit card into itty bitty pieces. With NFC, your smartphone becomes an ATM machine and credit device all in one. Instead of counting cash or swiping a card, you’ll just wave your phone at a payment kiosk to complete a transaction and receive an email receipt instead of paper one.
2> Data Grabbing Goodness
The chips and tags that an NFC-capable phone can read are so tiny that they could eventually be ubiquitous, embedded in everything from posters in movie theaters and schools to real estate signs, and much more. These so-called infotags or smart tags will offer up all sorts of information to anyone who waves a smartphone at them.
3> Chips are Good for Your Health
Don’t let anyone tell you that chips are bad for you. When it comes to your health care, NFC tags and the smart devices that can read them may help make health care data more accurate, more efficient and safer for patients and their caregivers.
Forget the clunky, inefficient ER rooms of the past. Now, patients could check into medical facilities using their phones, tap their prescription bottles for all instructions and side effects for a specific medication and make payments for services and products.
Medical professionals can use their NFC phones to access secure areas, scan patient tags to ensure that each person is receiving appropriate medicine and care, and automatically receive updates on when to check that patient again.
And thanks to the quick spread of smartphones throughout the developing world, health workers can better identify patients and track specific ailments, both of which help improve patient referral, emergency response, and disease data collection. In an age where health authorities fear pandemics, NFC could put health workers ahead of their bacterial and viral foes.
4> A Legendary Digital Locksmith
You already know that your smartphone can replace your wayward billboard. It can also help you do away with your keys and security cards.
You don’t really need a key to get into your car. Nor do you need that jagged bit of metal and plastic for engine ignition. All you really need is permission. And your NFC smartphone might soon be able to give you that permission. Just wave your phone to unlock your car; then tap the dash to fire up the engine.
When you arrive at work, you don’t need to show your ID badge to a security guard. You don’t even need your badge anymore, because your phone tells the NFC access point exactly who you are and unlocks the door for you.
5> Your Friendly Network Facilitator
You already know that NFC is good for sharing and transactions. It’s also a handy way to quickly pair two devices so that they can exchange information via higher-speed networks, and in this sense, NFC could be heaven-sent, doing away with convoluted encryption schemes and long-winded, clunky passwords.
For example, if you and your co-worker are stranded at an airport and want to play a team racing game on your smartphones, you won’t have to deal with a tedious configuration process. Instead, you can just tap your phones, and the NFC connection will authenticate your phones and let you immediately share a faster type of connection, such as Bluetooth or WiFi.
Want to print a photo that’s on your phone? Tap your smartphone to an NFC inkjet printer and you can quickly start the print job. Or skip the printer and place your phone right next to your smart HDTV, and watch as your images appear on the screen without the need to set up a connection.