Near Field Communication is a form of radio communication between compatible devices, which must be close to each other. The devices establish peer-to-peer communication when they touch each other or are very close together, enabling them to exchange data. The technology is closely related to radio-frequency identification or RFID because they can both be used to send data or induce current in passive components. However, the maximum distance within which NFC devices can communicate is only 10 centimeters, as they rely on electromagnetic radio fields. Communication typically takes place when devices are between one and four centimeters apart. This means NFC devices are not suitable for things like inventory tracking. Like QR codes, the devices are more common in products that need to contain digitized information.
Types of NFC Devices
NFC devices are classified as either active or passive. Active devices both read and send data while passive devices contain information, but they cannot read any information themselves. An example of a passive device is an NFC Tag. An NFC Tag is basically constructed by embedding an NFC chip with a small antenna into a thin sheet of plastic. Different tags are made of varying layers of adhesive and plastic as well as the design and size of the antenna, which is usually constructed from thin aluminum. NFC Tags can store different types of information depending on their memory capacities.
Benefits of NFC Tags
NFC tags are small and cheap, which means they can be easily integrated into a wide range of products, including posters, business cards, stickers, passes and even prescription bottles. Since the tags are passive, they do not require any power of their own, as the power drawn from readers suffices to activate them. They offer great benefits to both individuals and businesses.
Their benefits to businesses include:
- Cheap Implementation: NFC readers do not have to be special devices, and businesses can simply use NFC-enabled mobile phones to read and write information. They won’t need to develop custom hardware. NFC tags are also cheap, and they are easily customizable, which makes them more versatile than QR codes.
- Great Customer Experience: NFC tags help businesses simplify complex interactions. Whether customers need to register, gain access, download apps, watch videos or get vouchers, they only need to “tap” their phones to the NFC tags for a frictionless experience.
- Faster Transactions: NFC tags help customers get relevant information quickly and complete the checkout process faster. The customers can collect reward points automatically and pre-load coupons and credit cards onto their NFC-enabled devices. The customer wait time is reduced even further because cashiers do not need to type in complex discounts or scan separate coupons.
- Branding: Businesses can create printed NFC Tags in full colour or hide them in existing products to avoid changing the appearance of the concerned products. They can even develop NFC-enabled apps for customers to download onto their phones.
- Better Collection of Customer Data: NFC technology allows businesses to collect relevant customer data that allows them to understand the customers better.
- Creating Interactive Advertisements: Businesses will enable their customers to seamlessly connect the digital and physical worlds. For example, relevant images can be instantly downloaded to the customers’ phones while they are directed to detailed online content.
- Reaching Customers without changing their Lives: Increasing numbers of modern portable devices, including mobile phones, are NFC-enabled. Consumers will simply use their devices to engage in contactless commerce.
- Improved Staff Communication: NFC Tags make it easy for managers to know where their employees are for smoother operations. The employees can use the tags to check in and record the times they spend both on the clock and on break.
- Real Time Updates: The tags will not only keep track of employees but also allow them to receive and send updates.
- Versatility: All types of businesses can use NFC Tags, ranging from transport to health industries.
How Safe Are NFC Tags?
NFC devices establish secure channels and encrypt sensitive information like credit card numbers. Consumers using NFC-enabled phones can enhance their security by using passwords and installing anti-virus apps. Encoding and locking NFC Tags are two distinct procedures. While the tags can be re-encoded several times, the encoded data cannot be altered once tags have been locked. This means tags can be locked to protect the information they contain from unwanted change. NFC technology will help both small businesses and large corporations streamline their operations and increase customer satisfaction. Businesses can use NFC Tags anywhere since they do not need internal power.