NFC: The Future is Here

By | May 9, 2013

What is NFC?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication and the short answer would be that NFC identifies us. It allows smartphones to be identified and it establishes a radio communication. Think short range NFC Tagwireless RFID technology.

You may have heard of NFC and its ability to make mobile payments easy. Account information is stored on the smartphone and when in close contact with the payment receiving technology, it passes along that account information, enabling a payment to be made.

However, NFC can be a great marketing tool for mobile marketing. And there is also talk of how NFC will help in terms of rewarding customer loyalty. The bonus is that NFC is more interactive and engaging than your typical marketing message. It’s not a “look at me” marketing strategy. It’s more of a “hey, look what we’ve got for you, are you interested?” kind of connection with the audience.

How does NFC work?

NFC is like your short and skinny pal. He can’t reach very far. And he can’t throw a weighty punch. But he’s scrappy and useful in certain situations.  This low power and short-range wireless link allows for information to be passed between a smartphone and another device. While it is short range (think inches), it does not require contact. But most importantly, it allows for the information to relay back and forth between two devices instead of that relay being a one way street.

Not only is it short-range, NFC is slow. Especially when you compare it to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. But the perk is that NFC consumes very little power. It won’t strain a smartphone battery and suck it dry.

Android NFC Phone in UseA smartphone enabled with NFC can share and interact with another NFC device, or with a “passive” NFC tag. No app needed. And the NFC tag is like a tiny chip that may be embedded (in a poster, a business card and so on) somewhere and has data ready to transfer to a NFC enabled device. The tag doesn’t even need power. Instead, the radio frequency field generated by the NFC device (like your smartphone) does the work, and the data from the tag is transferred to the device.


  • What’s so awesome about NFC?
  • How is NFC used in the real world?
  • How can you put NFC to work for your business?

Get the answers to these questions and more in:


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6 thoughts on “NFC: The Future is Here

  1. Bruce Watermann

    A lot of folks don’t realize that early uses of Bluetooth (pre-2002) were trying to support what NFC is now doing. The benefit of using Bluetooth is that it gave quite a bit longer range, and was in testing at retailers like Starbucks for auto-ordering your standing coffee order or Macy’s for giving you “custom sales” personalized to your profile.

    Where NFC shines is that it does not require pairing and consumes very little energy. This indeed makes it the right technology to put to work in business.

  2. John Foley

    Completely agree, Bruce. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic and for reading!

  3. Bill Michael

    Thanks for sharing, John – great article and definitely a technology to keep an eye on as its adoption becomes more prevalent, as it could really have a positive impact on direct marketing. There have already been some great examples of it’s use in the marketplace today, such as supporting the launch of the Halo 4 video game in Australia and using NFC-enabled promotional posters and advertisements to send fans on a live scavenger hunt.


  4. John Foley Post author

    You’re welcome Bill and I appreciate you engaging. As you said, there are several great examples of it out there. Just goes to show what a great marketing tool it can be!

  5. Patrick Whelan

    Hope this isn’t a stupid question but can the chip be reprogramed or, do you have to replace it if you wanted to change the functionality, message, etc.

  6. John Foley

    Hi Pat, not a stupid question. Yes, the chip can be reprogrammed to change functionality, message etc.

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