Near Field Communication, Part 1

The application of existing and newer technologies is happening at a much faster rate, as users and developers continue to harness and adapt the capabilities of existing tools for various purposes that afford convenience. More specifically, the development of mobile devices including smartphones has shown the almost limitless potentials for which these devices could be used. NFC or Near Field Communications is one of these developments.

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NFC works based on the fact that mobile devices already emit electromagnetic fields of their own when switched on and this mechanism can be exploited for various uses. NFC is more preferable than Bluetooth technology, as Bluetooth technology requires a search and pairing of devices, which is time consuming and inconvenient.

NFC communication is a technology that can be harnessed where mobile devices, specifically smartphones are in close proximity to one another, or even in contact with each other. NFC makes use of Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) that can allow for the sharing or transmission of data. The advantage that NFC provides is that it leverages already existing frequencies that the devices are engaging with. Smartphones already emit their individual frequencies; NFC merely seeks to make use of these already existing channels to multiply the potentials for use. RIFD in itself also offers much potential in terms of adaptability.

For NFC to work, it will require that the two devices, such as the two Smartphones, to be in close proximity with one another. When both are switched on, instant, virtual communication is possible. NFC harnesses the principle of magnetic induction, where each of the electronic devices creates a magnetic field of its own, which effectively creates a wireless connection between the two.

NFC is already available in Smartphones such as Nokia, Galaxy, Samsung, among others that are able to detect other devices at close range. This simple interaction is what many brands and marketers are seeking to take advantage of, to enhance quick service delivery and take out an even bigger competitive advantage.

The potential applications of NFC for marketers are limitless. As long as an individual’s device can interact with close proximity to that of the vendor, quick automated payments are possible. RFID technology has successfully been placed in tags, which can be attached to different items. This can be in the form of stickers. Specifically for mobile phone devices, RFID tags can be used to capture a URL from a poster onto the phone’s browser allowing the customer to carry out an instant search for further information on a product that is being advertised. The simple act, of holding the mobile device next to the poster could increase conversion rates as the chances of customers completing the purchase process are maximized.

STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW: NFC marketing also comes in handy where the exchange of information between the buyer and seller is required. It makes the buying and selling process much easier and faster.

Wireless mobile payments facilitate quick transfer of information and there is no risk of interference as these connections are secure.

The ability that mobile devices offer in terms of pinpointing the user’s location can also be harnessed as part of newer, more targeted marketing strategies. As the use of social media applications among mobile users continues to grow in popularity, marketers can use the local social conversations to target their customers, more so in terms of content. NFC may require marketers to come up with ‘smart posters’ that can detect and interact with mobile devices. As such, marketers should thus carefully consider the extent to which further investment will be required to take advantage of this form of technology.

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