NFC Explained Through Infographics
I found some great NFC infographics to explain the technology. The first one is a comparison between RFID & NFC. It captures the differences nicely. RFID is really focuses on the supply chain tracking. My guess is that tracking pets introduced RFID to the consumer. NFC is RFID for the consumer. The NFC reader/writer is free to the consumer via the smartphone. It enables contactless payments, information sharing, advertising etc. NFC may take over some components of supply chain given the cost of the reader is now zero.
The second was published by Orange “Six ways NFC will change your world“. The market research says that by 2016 there could be 550 mobile handsets with NFC. That part is likely true. Most Andriod smartphones already have NFC builtin. However the limiting factor to enable these use cases for you and I is the rest of the ecosystem which tends to be much much slower to change. Take contactless payments for example. The payment industry using contacless smart cards do not have to deal with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) but on a smartphones they do. The payment industry took years to figure it out and really make it happen. Cudos to VISA for finding a way using their Trusted Service Manage (TSM) and Host Card Emulation (HCE) on Andriod. Sorry for the tech speak but it appears that we may finally get contacless payments on smartphones BUT that does not guarantee consumer adoption. What is the (awesome) consumer benefit? The same is true for ticketing, access control, advertising, medical you name it. These are large ecosystems that must recognize the benefits, move to enable NFC and provide real value to the consumer.
On a more positive note there are some really nice simple consumer apps that I think will have rapid adoption in the near term. That is Bluetooth and Wifi pairing. Pairing is painful because it required the user to enter credentials for access control in many different ways. NFC is an alternate channel for pairing by tapping your smartphone on the object (NFC tag) to pair (no credentials to enter). There are NFC enabled Bluetooth speakers – just tap and play, NFC enabled WiFi printers – just tap and print, NFC enabled Wifi access Points – just tap and connect, NFC enabled bluetooth car infotainment – just tap and play. To generalize NFC enabled Bluetooth or Wifi anything – just tap and connect. No need to manually pair. YAY. (More on security later…). Also see my last post on provisioning tablets by 2nd graders!