Near-Field Communication (NFC) is more than just contactless payments
NFC, or near-field communication refers to using one's mobile phone for the purpose of communicating or interacting with an object, simply by placing the phone near that object.
One popular example of NFC is the contactless payment, where a mobile phone is placed near a payment reader in order to complete a payment. Another example is the operation of locking mechanisms on doors, where the phone is used like a contactless 'key' when placed near the reader on the door.
Not only are there many ways that businesses can use NFC technology, but the ability to do so also offers benefits to the way businesses operate.
Business Uses and Benefits of NFC Technology
In addition to the many benefits of NFC technology to the payment and marketing departments of businesses, there are many ways places to use it.
Businesses can make shopping easier for the blind and visually impaired using NFC tags which describe products. For example, when a blind or visually-impaired customer scans a product with an NFC label, they receive an audio message about that product. A medicine bottle may contain information about what's inside, along with any common interactions or side-effects the customer should pay attention to.
The navigation of the blind and visually impaired in museums, office and schools can be made far easier with the placement of NFC tags in strategic locations. One needs simply to scan these tags with their phone to receive audio information about nearby attractions and facilities.
NFC can be used to wirelessly transfer files via Bluetooth. Products are available which allow for a mobile phone to be linked with a 'content station'. To transfer files, one need only to place the phone on the surface of the content station to update contact files, upload new documents and transfer photos from the device.
Get Online Anywhere
If you want to work in a remote location, but need an internet connection, NFC can help you set up a virtual office from just about anywhere. NFC tags can be programmed using a free app to perform specific actions when you command them with your phone, such as search for local public hotspots when you swipe or tap your mobile.
If your business offers a rewards or points card, NFC can make loading these and store discounts onto a customer's phone. This will make it easier for them to claim their rewards at checkout. Convenience and rewards are what help to build customer loyalty.
Along with its many uses, NFC also offers a number of benefits to businesses.
Updates in Real Time
The ability to track employees and read updates from managers and staff can offer the ability for more efficient scheduling of employee tasks. Should a customer need assistance, one swipe over an NFC tag is all it takes to see who is available to help in each department.
Staff can use NFC tags to check-in and out of certain departments quickly and easily. This can also help managers wanting to know how long a staff member was on break, or how long it took them to complete a task. This type of real-time information can help businesses to run more smoothly.
Today's NFC technology can be seen on several popular devices, including Nokia, Blackberry, HTC and Samsung. Whether large or small in size, or a non-profit or other organisation, NFC offers a host of possibilities for improving the efficiency of operations and improving the customer experience. The number of benefits is sure to increase as NFC technology continues to develop and evolve.
By Beata GREEN
Beata is Managing Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company's continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.