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RapidNFC Blog

24 July 2015

The use of NFC for events, festivals, tradeshows and expos is one of the major growing trends in the industry at the moment. More and more events are utilising the power of NFC to create different and innovative experiences to visitors from access control, to payments, to networking. As this trend continues to grow the software solutions are also becoming increasingly more sophisticated and creative.

Why incorporate NFC into an Event?

There are numerous benefits of using NFC for an event, over simpler ticketing solutions.

Access control and authentication is the obvious use for NFC in all events. Access to events is usually confirmed by a ticket or wearable, and possibly manually checking a guest list. NFC access control is far smarter than this and makes the process fully automated and far smoother. Every NFC chip has a unique identifier encoded on to the tag when they are manufactured. The identifier cannot be altered or erased, and as the name suggests no two ID’s are the same. Software can link the customer’s personal details to one unique ID of a specific NFC product; so if anybody attempts to duplicate the tag or give a product to somebody who is not on the list at the event this simple authentication procedure will immediately flag this. This is a very simple, but effective, authentication system.

NFC payment systems are becoming increasingly popular at events, particularly at festivals. The convenience and benefits of having a prepaid wristband to purchase food, drinks and merchandise at a festival, as opposed to bringing a wallet or purse, is clear. Why risk losing your wallet at a festival when you can have everything you would need encoded on to a wristband? The software around this type of solution can provide a secure platform to keep any data safe. Through the platform you are also able top up the NFC product if need be on site so there is no worry if you happen to overspend a little and run out of money! If this type of solution is of interest to you we would recommend contacting Gain Loyalty. Gain Loyalty are a company we work with on a regular basis and they offer slick prepaid card solutions for events.

NFC Festival

Whilst access control and payment solutions are great for festivals, or a day and weekend events, NFC can provide a much more interactive experience at trade shows and expos. By providing visitors with a NFC product, or indeed fixing exhibits with NFC tags, you are able to:
- Create a network or messaging service within the event itself
- Provide links to download documents, presentations and other such material
- Download schedules and timetables
- Set agendas
- Save vCards
- Get product and service information
- Be provided with real time statistics and analytics
- Access control to exhibits
- Download post-event content including photos, documents, contacts and presentations

Two companies we work closely with who specialise in creating NFC software for expos and trade shows are Event Cloud and Dynamic Venues. Both are worth contacting for further information on how NFC can enhance your tradeshow or exhibit.

NFC Tradeshow

Asides from providing visitors and clients with an engaging and unique experience there are also direct benefits for event organisers using NFC. It is a very easy way to generate a comprehensive database of event attendees, and to create mailing lists for future events. The biggest benefit of people engaging with NFC ports at events is that you can run real-time data analytics- perfect for future marketing purposes (for more information on data analytics and its uses please see our previous blog, Using NFC Tags With Analytics). You are also able to see what attendees interacted with and how they interacted with exhibits. It can provide an insight in to what worked at the event and, importantly, what did not work as well and could be improved upon.

The simplicity of NFC offers an excellent foundation for a range of event and access solutions, with several software providers already offering great solutions. We, at RapidNFC, look forward to seeing this market grow in the future.

17 July 2015 : Case Study

We, at RapidNFC, have noticed an increase in the use of NFC in retail environments. More specifically, we have noticed an increase in the use of NFC on a product level. In fact, we have observed the growth of this trend for a while now and as such we have recently added two specific product tagging options to our range; the NFC Jewellery Tag and the NFC Plant Pot Marker. We anticipate the use of NFC for product tagging to really take off if, and when, Apple unlock the iPhone’s NFC controller to scan NFC tags.

NFC Plantpot Marker
Why Tag Products with NFC?

The cost of tagging a product with NFC, in comparison to the potential return from converting a sale, is almost negligible. Tagging a product with NFC allows the customer to interact with a product far more extensively than they typically would. By scanning the tag a customer has all the necessary information they need to make an informed choice, something that is particularly handy if a sales representative is not available to offer advice and assistance

NFC tagging can be useful for products of all values. Supermarkets, for instance, could certainly make use of NFC product tagging. Through NFC they can provide shoppers with information on products, special offers and even extra features (such as recipes or meal ideas). This being said, the real value of product tagging is with high value and high end items.

Tagging High Value Items

High value items, for the majority of people, tend to be a considered purchase- you will put a lot more thought into what TV or laptop you would like to purchase opposed to, for example, what fast food restaurant you will visit for lunch. People are simply more invested, (both financially and otherwise), in the sales process of high value or high end goods. As this is a considered purchase the person naturally wants as much information as possible before making a decision. NFC is a great medium in providing such information.

Product information aside there are many other benefits to product tagging. It is a high tech solution that can provide various add-on’s including:
- Customer wish lists (which can be emailed)
- Ordering out of stock products online
- Providing information on alternative products
- Creating an online account

CloudTags Case Study

CloudTags are a pioneering software company in the field of NFC retail experience who we work with on a regular basis. They create dynamic retail experiences for their clients using NFC. A great example of using NFC in a retail environment is CloudTags project with online retailer Made. Although Made are an online retailer, they have a showrooms in Soho, London and Redbrick, Yorkshire. The implementation of NFC tags in this environment is ideal. The whole point of the showroom is to look at products that may be of interest to you, and therefore the ability to actually interact with those products is key to converting sales. If a customer scans a tag, and then sends the product details to their email address, they can be sure that it is the exact product they would like to purchase. Not fully knowing what a product looks like is the bane of every internet shopper’s life! The email may also prompt the customer to purchase the products at a later date- something they may otherwise forget, or neglect, to do.

NFC product tagging is an innovative way of allowing customers to engage with a product without being overtly pushy or forceful. It adds positively to a shopping experience and is a great way for customers to gather, otherwise uncertain, information on items they are considering purchasing. It is beneficial for both customers and retailers alike, creating a win-win for all! Product tagging is an NFC trend we at RapidNFC are excited about and expect to expand in new and innovative ways in the future; so make sure you keep an eye out for more examples of NFC product tagging on your local high street!

12 July 2015 : Opinion

The power and simplicity of NFC tags mean that they are a great tool for a range of use cases. Whilst the tags are most commonly used in asset management and marketing situations, and indeed this is what they are commonly known for, there are a number of other scenarios they are also suitable for. One of these areas is round and employee management such as health care visits and security guard patrol routines.

NFC for Round Control

Round and employee management use NFC tags to track the status of employees, typically in a set location. In the case of employee management, the NFC tags are generally held by each employee and they are then clocked in and out by a fixed NFC reader or a smartphone held by their line manager. Companies like Timedock and Timetac have been deploying NFC tags along with their platform to provide a lightweight employee management system. This allows their clients to easily organise timesheet data and manage the location of their employees.

In the case of round management, the employee will generally hold the NFC reader (typically a smartphone with an app installed) and stationary NFC tags around the site will be used to confirm the employee's patrol route. This is done by the employee tapping an NFC tag as they patrol, confirming their location and time on the application’s database. From this, an accurate map of the patrol can be analysed, increasing the security of the site, whilst ensuring that key locations are regularly patrolled.

Security NFC Tags

NFC tags are excellent for this kind of application, due to their availability and ease of integration. The tags are cost-effective and come in a variety of forms, including PVC cards, keyfobs, simple stickers and tough discs for industrial environments. These features mean they can be easily integrated into existing systems for a low cost. Furthermore, as a lot of smartphones can be used as NFC readers, it means no expensive, specialist equipment needs to be purchased and, in many cases, employees can use their own devices, further reducing costs.

Homecare Management

In addition to being used for patrol management, NFC tags have now found a new and effective role in homecare management. RapidNFC, as one of the leading providers of NFC tags and products in the UK and Europe, has noticed a growing trend of tags being used by homecare providers, who are utilising this technology to increase their efficiency and improve the service they offer to their customers.

Homecare providers have a lot of clients who retain their independence and remain based in their own homes. These people rely on carers visiting every now and then to offer them support and help. NFC tags are applied to customers' homes and when the carer visits, they scan the tag to confirm they have visited that location. Their device is often tied into an application, so they can document how the client is doing and if they need any further assistance or support. By keeping a digital, connected record, homecare companies can ensure that all customers get the help they need and that nobody is overlooked. Furthermore, it allows management to easily and effectively manage their workforce and form an automated system that ensures they provide the best service possible.

The simplicity of NFC tags means they can be easily adapted for a range of situations. RapidNFC can't wait to see what new uses are found for NFC tags in the future.

02 July 2015 : Case Study

Dementia care is a growing concern for an aging UK population. In fact, it is such a concern that the government has recently pledged £300 million to be spent on research aimed at slowing the onset of dementia and, hopefully, finding a cure by 2025. David Cameron has went as far as to say that dementia is "one of the greatest challenges of our life time".

Many people suffering from symptoms of dementia still remain semi-independent with the support of spouses, family members, friends, neighbours, charities, local authorities and the community in general. There are more than 525,000 people in the UK diagnosed with dementia who live at home and maintain a degree of independence despite their condition.

So, you may ask, what does this have to do with NFC?

RapidNFC recently worked with a charity, Dementia Buddy, on a project to help people with dementia remain independent, but safe, within the community. The idea is to provide dementia suffers with NFC enabled wristbands, badges and hang tags. The tags are to be used as a safety net for people with dementia as they go about their day to day life.

NFC Wristbands

The devices are encoded with the individual's first name and an emergency contact number, which can be clicked and called when scanned with a mobile phone.

The feedback Dementia Buddy has received, from both people with dementia and their carers', has been very positive. People with dementia want to retain their freedom, but do not want loved ones to worry about them whenever they leave the house by themselves. Carers, of course, just want the person with dementia to be safe and, ideally, to have help and support at hand if they do become lost or disorientated.

The use of NFC tags offers a good balance between these two, sometimes conflicting, desires. Local emergency services have also become involved in the project. They can now identify a dementia sufferer by the tags they carry, and know exactly what to do to get that individuals emergency contact number if need be. This is an innovative way of getting the local community and authorities involved in helping to support dementia sufferers in the community, whilst maintaining respect for their independence.

29 June 2015 : NFC Help
Using NFC Tags as a Marketing Tool

RapidNFC's position as one of the leading suppliers of NFC tags online means that we get involved in a range of events across Europe. Marketing is one of the major sectors our tags are used in and the properties of NFC tags make them ideal for connecting to consumers.

A great advantage of NFC tags is their simplicity. You touch your phone on the POS terminal, smart poster, outdoor advert or other NFC marketing tools and a mobile-friendly page pops up. This ease of use is great for delivering content as, too often, innovative 'techy' advertising techniques are confusing and lead to a negative experience with the brand in question. Furthermore, unlike QR codes and other data delivery formats where an additional app is required to interact with the content, communication with NFC is built into operating systems like Android and Windows Phone.

Another advantage of NFC is that people want to use it. If you look at a busy city bus stop, most people will have their smartphone out, ready to engage with content. In places like London, advertising company, Clear Channel, have had great success installing NFC touch points at these stops, where the combination of a long dwell time and this willingness to engage in delivered content has led to high response rates.

Pushing NFC Further: Analytic Platforms

While NFC tags, encoded with a simple weblink, are an excellent marketing tool, they are even better when augmented with analytics. A typical analytic system consists of generating a link which then redirects to your original destination. This redirection link is used to provide analytics, while the end user only sees the destination link. Additionally these services often provide a shorter URL which is great for NFC chips with limited storage. Popular providers of this service include Google (goo.gl), Bit.ly and ClickMeter.

Countless unique links can be generated, one for each tag and all redirecting to the original destination. These links then track the 'clicks' made when a tag is touched and can sort each link by date, location, operating system and more. As each link is unique, users can easily see which locations receive the most feedback, what type of users access their content and if there are times when content delivery is most effective.

RapidNFC was recently involved in an order that made great use of link trackers. A British mobile network provider was looking to promote a security application they provided as a complementary service to their customers. Flyers were created with uniquely encoded NFC tags applied to each one. Each link then sent the users to a mobile-friendly splash page with information on the application and a download link. To the customers, the experience was seamless and encouraged them to download the app without pushing it. Through these unique links, the company was able to see the response rates while also understanding which locations were most likely to download the app.

ClickMeter Demonstration

To give you an idea of the power of these platforms, we've provided a brief introduction to them, using ClickMeter as an example. ClickMeter is great for trying this out as it offers a free service for testing and small rollouts as well as paid tiers for companies.

ClickMeter Screenshot

Shown above is ClickMeter's dashboard, where you can track the performance of your links, as well as create new tracking links. Creating new links is easy and you can easily group links by campaign, as well as adding extra features like different destinations for first clicks, passwords and maximum click caps. Once the link has been created, QR codes can be generated within the platform to be easily added to printed media.

Once a campaign is over, an expiration date can switch the destination to an alternative URL so that any tags out in public areas are no longer directed to an out-of-date page. Using this kind of platform along with NFC tags allows companies to easily deploy a fully-fledged, professional digital campaign for relatively little cost.

19 June 2015 : Case Study

RapidNFC are involved in countless projects utilising NFC technology in new and innovative ways. NFC has now been introduced to the world of football in the form of access control. Season ticket holders of Cypriot first division club, Anorthosis Famagusta FC, will now have a handy NFC KeyCard for the 2015/2016 season- opposed to the generic paper tickets usually offered by football clubs.

The cards will be used to gain entry to all of Anorthosis' home games. Besides being a hi-tech solution for entry to football games it is also a lot more convenient than a standard ticket. You are far less likely to lose a KeyCard, they can be kept on you at all times throughout the duration of the season and they are far less likely to be damaged. The club will also have blue and pink junior silicone wristbands for the clubs younger supports.

NFC Tags for Football

Though the cards are, initially, being used to gain entry to home matches there are several potential benefits to replacing season tickets with NFC cards in the long term. Ultimately NFC tags can be used as a way to directly market to the club's most passionate fans.

Through this marketing a club could increase website traffic and merchandise sales, provide supporters with special offers, keep fans informed of all latest club developments and create a way for the club to be more interactive with their fans in general.

The idea of providing fans with a physical link to the club they love has a lot of potential! It is a very 21st century way for clubs to interact with their most important stakeholders- the fans.

There is now a suggestion that the local government are interesting introducing a "fan card" for all Cypriot fans, which would clearly be the next big step in this effort to introduce NFC to football. We here at RapidNFC think that it is a fantastic idea and wish Anorthosis the best for their up and coming season!

11 June 2015 : Product Info
Asset Tagging

Asset tagging is essential for many companies or organisations who manage a large number of assets as it allows them to manage their equipment easily, keeping track of the location, status and condition of their assets. While standard asset tagging typically involves printed labels and bar codes, the globally unique ID in each NFC chip makes tags ideal for use in smart asset platforms.

NFC tags as a smart asset solution

NFC tags come in a variety of form factors including our Cable Tie Tags and our Industrial Disc Tags to allow the tagging of a range of asset types. Some tags can printed with an ID sequence or a QR code to aid in visual identification and so that they can be scanned by other readers. Furthermore, while other RFID asset systems can require costly equipment and infrastructure, the low cost of NFC tags, along with the ease with which readers can be purchased, means an NFC solution can be easily implemented.

Tamper Proof Tags

In addition to our standard tags, RapidNFC have recently brought out a new type of tamper proof tag. Our tamper proof tags are designed to stop functioning when moved to prevent them being reused. Whereas earlier designs essentially disintegrated when tampered with, the new design is a lot smarter. When removed, a small part of the antenna stays on the asset, breaking the antenna and preventing the tag from being scanned. This means that the tag cannot be moved from asset to asset and, furthermore, little residue is left on the asset if the tag has to be removed. A demonstration of this tag can be seen in the video within the product page.

01 June 2015 : NFC Help

There are a lot of NFC apps available out there for Android devices- apps for everything! Apps for encoding, apps to alter phone settings, apps to launch apps. There is even an app which makes it impossible to turn your phone alarm off until your phone is tapped against a strategically placed NFC tag. This app was not included on the below list. It is undoubtedly useful for those of us who struggle to make it out of bed in the morning, however it can also be annoying. Extremely annoying.

NFC App Highlights

Nevertheless there are some apps that anybody with an interest in NFC should definitely consider downloading:

1. NFC TagWriter by NXP

Created by NFC chip manufacturers NXP, TagWriter should be the starting point for anybody with an interest in NFC. Through this App you can programme tags to:

- Link to URL's
- Load vCards
- Connect to WiFi networks
- Dial telephone numbers
- Link to Geo locations
- Load simple text strings
- Send text messages and emails
- Launch applications

The app has a very simple interface, making it incredibly easy to use. It also has a "protect tags" feature, so you can lock and protect the data on your tag. TagWriter should be the starting point for all your NFC uses.

For the beginners guide to using TagWriter please click here.

NFC TagWriter by NXP is available as a free download through the Play store. Click here to download.

2. Trigger

Trigger is one of the most popular NFC apps. It is great for altering phone settings- so you can programme NFC tags to carry out the actions you usually manually change on a daily basis. Through the app you are able to programme tags to:

- Turn WiFi and Bluetooth on or off
- Switch the phone to Airplane mode
- Change mobile data settings
- Change display settings
- Send automated messages
- Start and stop applications
- Set alarms

You can also encode a tag to perform more than one function at a time, (i.e. turn Bluetooth off, turn WiFi on, set an alarm and turn the brightness of your phone down). It is a great app to experiment with and see what works for you! There is no better way to get to grips with NFC than through old fashioned trial and error, and you would be surprised how useful having automated tags can be. The only disadvantage to Trigger is that, because the commands encoded 'talk' to the app, if the app is not installed the tag won't do anything.

Trigger is available as a free download through the Play store. Click here to download.

3. NFC Tools

NFC Tools, like TagWriter, is a great all-round app that you can use to programme tags with all types of data. We at RapidNFC tend to prefer TagWriter due to it's easy to use interface. That being said, NFC tools has all the functions TagWriter has, as well as an additional feature that allows you to read the unique ID of the chip. This is not something that is available on the current version of TagWriter. We recommend downloading both TagWriter and NFC Tools and seeing which one you prefer.

NFC Tools is available as a free download through the Play store. Click here to download.

4. NFC TagInfo by NXP

TagInfo is an app developed primarily for techies and software developers- however it can also be useful for anybody with a casual interest in the technical side of NFC. TagInfo gives a thorough breakdown of all the technical information of a chip including:

- The chips manufacturer and type
- Data set information
- NDEF information and breakdown
- Unique ID of the chip
- Memory size of the chip
- Version information
- Technologies supported and ISO standard
- A comprehensive breakdown of the memory content

TagInfo and TagWriter are the ideal starting point for everybody interested in NFC- from those with a casual interest, to software developers and everybody in between.

NFC TagInfo by NXP is available as a free download through the Play store. Click here to download.

5. Tasker

Disclaimer: unlike all the other apps on this list Tasker is not a free app. It costs £2.99 and is available to download through the Play store. Click here to download. Please note that you will also need to download "locale NFC Plugin" for this app to work with NFC. Click here to download.

Tasker works in a very similar way to Trigger- programming tags to adjust phone settings and perform various tasks. Tasker, however, has more features. A lot more. Through the app you can programme tags to perform a variety of in-depth, specialist and precise functions working with other variables. For a full run down of the different actions available please see the App page on the Play store link above. The reason why Tasker is 5th, rather than 2nd, on our list is because it is not a simple app to use. It is exceptional in regards to the amount you can programme and the overall depth of the app's capabilities- however this is not an app for a casual NFC user. If complete and absolute automation is what you are looking for, however, this is definitely the app for you!

6. Insta WiFi

Insta WiFi is a useful little app, with a very easy-to-use interface. Everybody has been in a situation where a friend or family member has come over and attempted to connect to the WiFi using a long password consisting of a random array of numbers and letters. It can take two or three times to get this right. And, of course, there are the usual questions: Where is the router? What number is the password sequence? Should all the letters be in capitals? Are you sure this is the right password…?

Ok, this is not a regular or serious problem. That being said, it cannot be denied that encoding a tag so visitors can tap to connect automatically to a network is a handy tool to have! And yes, you can also programme tags to connect to networks with TagWriter and NFC tools- however, Insta WiFi is a little more simple to use and can also generate QR codes for those friends who do not have NFC enabled devices. It is certainly worth a download in our opinion.

Insta WiFi is available as a free download through the Play store. Click here to download.

7. NFC ReTag

NFC ReTag is a clever app in what it does and how it achieves the redirection of tags. Using the unique ID of the tag the app redirects the scanning device to perform functions, launch applications or URL's, alter phone settings etc. As it uses the chips unique ID it means that if you have other, (unwanted), data locked on a tag you can re-use or recycle that tag for a different purpose regardless. This is possible as all functions are carried out through the app itself- which uses the tags unique ID rather than any data already programmed on the tag.

We do appreciate that there are uses for this app, however there are three issues. The main problem is that you need to go through the app to actually access the new data. This is somewhat inconvenient. In addition to this, if people are simply trialling tags with different data sets a simple way to avoid this problem is to keep the tag unlocked and re-programme the tag outright. If a tag is locked with data that you do not wish to use anymore another alternative may be to simply replace that tag. This way you would have full functionality without relying on access to NFC ReTag to perform the wanted function. Finally, like Trigger, the app needs to be installed for the tags to do anything, otherwise they are just blank.

This app certainly has its uses, and the way in which it uses the unique ID of the tag to achieve redirection is clever from a technical point of view, however there are other ways around the problem the app seemingly fixes. It may be that we have missed the point slightly, (the app does have very positive reviews on the Play store). If so, please do let us know!

NFC ReTag is available as a free download through the Play store. Click here to download.

15 May 2015 : NFC Help

It's a daily question here at RapidNFC - how do I create an NFC enabled poster - the 'smartposter'. Well it's very easy and here's how to do it.

How To Create It

There's a couple of options on how to NFC enabled your posters. The first is to place an NFC tag onto the surface of the poster. Typically this would be one of our pre-printed tags with an NFC logo ready to go. However, this isn't the best way to do it. The best way is to place a standard white or clear tag behind your poster.

You could then print an NFC graphic and call to action on the front of your poster creating a smooth finish and a professional look. The NFC tag will scan just fine through the poster paper providing you don't use metallic inks.

NFC Smartposter
Choosing Your Tag

You want performance, which means you want a large tag with a strong ScanStrength. Something like the 38mm NTAG213 Clear NFC Tag will work very well.

One small trick that some people use is to place three or four tags on the back close to each other to increase the scan area. You can't increase the scan distance but by creating an 'array' of tags, you enlarge the hot spot which creates an improved user experience.

One other factor that it very important. Lock your tags ! People do know how to change the data on a tag and leaving a tag unlocked can cause a bit of a problem.

Placing The Poster Behind Glass/Perspex

It's quite common to place posters behind glass or perspex. While the material itself will not significantly affect the performance, clearly the increased distance between the user and the tag can make scanning more difficult. The easiest approach is to make sure the poster is firmly up against the glass. The alternative is to use a 'window sticker' type of tag placed directly on the glass but this can be more complicated.

Which Graphic To Use ?

We posted a blog a while ago about what best to use in the NFC graphic. Have a look at our Improving NFC Marketing Performance blog for more information.

On-Metal Consideration

Final point, when the poster is going to be placed onto a metal surface, then you might need to consider using on-metal tags. These will allow the tag to function properly and RapidNFC sell specific Reverse On-Metal Tags for this purpose.

Another option, which can increase performance and often work out cheaper is to use some thick foam tape behind the NFC tags to create a real spacer gap between the NFC tag and the wall behind. A space of 5mm or more is usually enough and can often allow the use of a large regular NFC tag which will perform better than an on-metal tag.

23 April 2015 : Opinion

Here at RapidNFC, we are always following the latest trends in the NFC industry; an industry that is constantly innovating and developing new features. In this article we are going to look at what we believe will be some of the key trends in the future.

NFC Smartphone Growth

As new smartphones are rolled out, we've typically seen the latest models arrive with better displays, faster processors and longer battery life, with each generation improving on the last. However, recently, smartphone development has started to plateau with new phones not necessarily being a huge improvement on their predecessors. As a recent example, look at the similarities between the HTC One M8 and M9.

This is also the case with smartphone features as more phones are coming out with a richer feature set. As such, we are seeing not just flagship phones, but also entry-level models, like the HTC Desire 510, with NFC. This should contribute to a large growth of NFC devices as more and more smartphones ship with this feature, an outcome also predicted by IHS Technology who estimated that over 1.2 billion NFC phones will be shipped in 2018.

NFC Growth
NFC Payment Growth

NFC payments have greatly increased with the introduction of Apple Pay, which has helped to boost the number of retailers that accept this kind of payment. This has not only meant that Apple Pay has become risen in popularity, but also that similar services, like Google Wallet, have seen growth as described by Ars Technica.

Furthermore, with smart wearables like the Apple Watch and Jawbone's UP4 including NFC payment functionality, it seems that we will see NFC payments becoming even more popular as smart wearables become ubiquitous. One of the key advantages of wearables for NFC payments is that they can use biometric data, like heartbeat etc., to provide authentication for payments, resulting in a secure and seamless experience.

NFC in Smart Homes and the Internet of Things

We are seeing more and more smart devices being introduced to replace typically 'dumb' appliances in houses like the Nest Protect, a smart fire alarm, and the August smart lock. These appliances are designed to connect to networks; allowing functions like changing the temperature or unlocking your door, which currently are done manually, to be carried out through an application.

Interacting with these devices is typically carried out by a smartphone and getting the two devices to communicate can require a laborious Bluetooth or WiFi setup. Using NFC as a quick communication link would be a great way of speeding this up and is something that can already be seen in Bluetooth speakers like the Libratone Zipp. Companies like NXP and EnOncean are already teaming up to showcase an NFC enabled lighting system and further developments will surely follow.

iPhone with NFC

The iPhone 6 was the first iPhone to come with an NFC element, unfortunately Apple has locked it down to Apple Pay for now so it can't interact with NFC tags.

Apple has a history of being cautious with new features in their phones; when the first iPhone was released, there were no third party applications! It was only when Apple became aware of the great potential of mobile apps that they were allowed and the App Store was released. Today, there are over 1 million applications on the Store.

In a similar fashion, now that the iPhone has NFC, we believe it's only a matter of time until Apple opens it up to interact with tags. With the marketing and asset tracking platforms available to NFC, it would be odd not to. We have described some of the effects this could have in our earlier blog What Happens When iPhone NFC Opens Up.

These points should emphasise the speed at which the NFC market is expanding, with new features and developments in turn driving further innovation. While we can’t be sure what the market will look like in the coming months and years, it will only continue to become bigger and better.

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