Nov 21, 2012

What are the uses for NFC?

When the iPhone 5 came out, there was some discussion about the lack of NFC. To paraphrase Edwin Sharp, NFC, what's it good for? I get that it can be used for mobile payments, but are there really any other uses for the technology?

Here's a good background article.

Near field communication

"Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few centimetres. Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange, and simplified setup of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi.[1] Communication is also possible between an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a "tag".[2]

NFC standards cover communications protocols and data exchange formats, and are based on existing radio-frequency identification (RFID) standards including ISO/IEC 14443 and FeliCa.[3] The standards include ISO/IEC 18092[4] and those defined by the NFC Forum, which was founded in 2004 by Nokia, Philips and Sony, and now has more than 160 members. The Forum also promotes NFC and certifies device compliance.[5]"

You can actually do a lot of nifty things with NFC.  You can purchase little NFC tags, program them, and stick them all over the place to make you device behave in location specific ways.  For example: At home - ringer off, disable Bluetooth, max screen birghtness.  At office - ringer max, auto-synch on, open Evernote.  I'm sure you could come up with better things but you get the idea.  There was an article on cnet that goes into NFC uses, including exploiting the fact that you can open the browser of your friends' phones to Rick-roll them. 


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