Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer

Signalling the Future – Near Field Communications (NFC)

As technology has ‘evolved’ so has its demand from its users and the need for quicker access / processing of information has exponentially grown. Imagine how many processes a human brain comprehends on a daily basis with data received via sensory gathering, essentially this is similar to how NFC operates. Data is transferred wirelessly and processed via the device and an output created and as a technology has yet to make a wide spread mark in the marketplace.

NFC operates by transmitting a signal from the reader to a bundled set of data containers (coil) this ‘coil’ retains minimal input data strings, which are bounced back, read, then decoded to output a desired action. This idea is nothing new building off the ideas found in older technology material such as QR readers and barcode scanners; however, NFC tags contain information i.e. not tied to an online service or requirement of an optical reader. At this year’s CES, we saw a variety of new NFC featured devices including NFC printers, home sensors and even more mobile and PC devices with NFC as standard. The technology is new and yet to hit its mark in a wider commercial sense but as my first set of tutorials will explain its uses in gaming, marketing and ease of access showing it as a technology we all should adopt and soon.


CES 2014 NFC Lineup

This year’s CES was NFC heavy with this year even being the first one to feature NFC badges as a method of entry and security provided by NXT. Below are SOME of the NFC devices revealed this year:

  •  LG NFC enabled TV’s
  • NFC enabled printers
  • NFC home sensors
  • Rumour – New iPhones to feature NFC Chips

NFC and Trans-media – Brief exploration 

Believe it or not but NFC is already making its mark and way into the media market on a growing scale with even NFC enabled business cards now being adopted by business professionals. So why is NFC good for marketing and media? Well, it is a actually believe it or not a cheap method of sending digital information quickly without an extensive understanding of technology or programming. Take for example NFC business cards people can scan these and instantly add contact information to their mobile device instantly without having to input loads of data and this is just the start. Websites, settings and even media can be controlled and sent between NFC devices and tags in a matter of seconds.

Imagine walking down the street and seeing a poster for a film that looks interesting, imagine using your phone to scan its NFC tag and instantly being able to watch the films trailer find out more information and even being able to book tickets all from just ‘tapping’ a poster. This form of marketing means otherwise none digital media forms can allow for digital links / transfer.

Companies such as Conducttr are already exploring its potential and easily allow users to create interactive real time campaigns allowing such technology to act as an intermediary. Robert Pratten CEO of Conducttr in this video below shows us some of the ways NFC and tools such as Conducttr can change the digital landscape.

We will explore NFC and Conducttr in more detail in future outings so stay tuned.

3 Replies to “Signalling the Future – Near Field Communications (NFC)”

  1. Found this post via the ICT Associate Developers blog. Hi!

    Utilising technologies like NFC could be great and have several benefits in a University setting, especially for things like Open Days (interactive content perhaps?) or granting access to certain rooms on campus as needed.

    However from the tech industry perspective, during the past several years NFC seems to have failed to really take off or gain any significant traction, especially in smartphones – no doubt due to Apple’s seemingly reluctant stance on incorporating the tech into their phones, with them instead opting for low power bluetooth solutions (iBeacon’s).

    Like you said, a large number of phones/devices do now have NFC tech, but for one reason or another, it has by no means become a standard. Google Wallet for example has failed to gain traction – (but I think that’s more to do with peoples reluctance to e-wallets “why bother when my debit card works just fine” – that’s a whole separate issue…..)

    Anyway, I think the area in general is an intriguing one to explore, and the difference between NFC and the wider-range bluetooth options will carve out different uses. Either way, the possibilities are interesting.

    1. I very agree with everything you have stated and personally do not feel comfortable with the idea of e-wallets as they stand at present. Okay stating NFC is becoming more standard is rather wrong rather it is becoming more incorporated in mobile technology i.e. smartphones by makers like Samsung and LG and apples reluctance is a barrier to this technology in a wider scale. I would say bluetooth technology is marvellous and out shines NFC by far however I feel NFC can if development and technology advances as such work in partnership with bluetooth. NFC I feel is best used in moderation for marketing and transmedia purposes as it stands due to the feeling of interaction it can provide ‘tapping’ a poster or tag is a physical interaction which in itself can add to an experience. As far as NFC as a means of access we are seeing this more and more, my bank card even has wireless transaction functionality (not that I use it) so yes as it stands it is limited, I only hope that it as a technology does not fade out of existence as its potential could be great.
      Its a technology for tomorrow not really today as it stands.

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