NFC or “near field communications” is a not-so-new technology that has been only recently applied to mobile phones. In the same way that we swipe our work ID’s to time in, we can use smartphones equipped with NFC to replace most electronic transactions we do. In other countries, people use their mobile phones as ATM cards and merely tap it onto the ATM machine’s sensor to withdraw. More commonly, it is used as a MRT card which you can top up via SMS. In the Philippines, NFC tech for mobile phones is still in its infancy.
In this demo, a relatively old Nokia C7 is upgraded with NFC software. Three stickers are scanned on the back of the phone by a simple tap. One of these opens a link to a news site. The other opens a link to download a multimedia file and the last one is a operator command to check your balance. These NFC stickers can be placed anywhere in the metro and people can just download whatever is embedded inside. Great for drive to store promos. Imagine if McDonalds had this sticker on several of Ayala’s underpasses. Tapping the sticker with your phone downloads a coupon for a free sundae cone. Nice!
What’s great about NFC is that most recently released phones already have this technology embedded into the hardware. All it takes is a software upgrade to enable the feature. In fact, if you’re on Android, the latest v2.3 Gingerbread OS main feature is NFC capability.
Net of it all, NFC tech is similar to QR code and bar code scanning technology that’s also been around for a while. The difference is that NFC seems to be more applicable to interfacing with other forms of hardware systems like payment kiosks.