Introduction to Near Field Communication (NFC) Technology

NFC Usage Beyond E-Commerce

NFC Usage Beyond E-Commerce

NFC usage is not restricted to just commerical transactions; it has seen action in the educational sector too. The University of San Francisco deployed an NFC trial system that integrates with the campus card system, enabling students to access rooms and make laundry payments with an iPhone in an add-on NFC case.

Elsewhere, NFC is being deployed for exchange of information and pairing of devices. For the latter, high-end headphones supporting NFC can be effortless paired with an NFC compatible mobile device just by tapping them to fast track the traditional Bluetooth pairing process. One of the latest of such devices is the Jabra Revo Wireless, but there are others in the market.

Meanwhile, phone makers have also embarked on NFC projects in Singapore. For example, Nokia introduced the Singapore NFC Hub in October 2011. Singapore NFC Hub is a website that allows businesses to order NFC tags and posters for commercial purposes. These NFC tags and posters can be pre-programmed to suit the different needs of businesses.

Nokia also partnered with taxi operator ComfortDelGro to offer NFC-enabled option as part of its FastCall automated taxi booking services at over 400 locations in Singapore. It also worked with SMRT to develop iMobSMRT spaces along the SMRT network. These spaces have NFC posters that are placed in MRT stations to allow consumers to make transactions, exchange content and book a taxi.

Have you seen any of these iMobSMRT posters with NFC tags at the train stations?

Research in Motion (RIM), the company manufacturing BlackBerry smartphones, and Sony also have pushed out NFC offerings to encourage the usage of NFC among consumers. RIM introduced the BlackBerry tag, a NFC feature in BlackBerry 7 OS smartphones where users can share contact information, documents, and URLs through a simple tap between their phones.

Sony also bundles NFC tags, known as Smart Tags along with some of its phone such as the Sony Xperia S. Roughly the shape and size of a round token, the Sony Smart Tag works with any NFC-enabled smartphones and allows you to pre-configure a set of actions on the Smart Tags. For example, you can configure the Smart Tag to trigger actions like turning on Wi-Fi and switching your phone to silent mode.

You can add and remove actions on the Sony Smart Tags.

More recently, we've also noticed high-end consumer appliances going the way of adopting NFC so that these devices can be easily configured, check on the device health status, run diagnostics check and many other tasks that normally eat up small slices of time. In our recent coverage of LG at the CES 2013 show, we've outlined how the company is making their appliances smarter by integrating NFC technology. For example, you could obtain new washing cycle programmes from LG via your smart phone app and then program the LG smart washing machine with these new updates by just tapping your phone to the machine. On LG's Smart Fridge, you could tap your NFC compliant phone on it to obtain food storage levels and expiry details that would aid your grocery shopping and even sync the shopping list before you set out to the store. On the home entertainment front, NFC is even integrated in LG's latest suite of home AV products to just tap and transfer the media you wish to beam to the big screen.

LG's not the only consumer electronics giant to have set foot on the NFC path. Panasonic has also taken this route and their strategy and NFC usage is outlined in this diagram-

You can check the energy savings of each NFC-enabled appliance using a NFC smartphone. <br>Image source:


NFC Usage Experience from HardwareZone Members

To further assist the growth and adoption of NFC locally, HardwareZone too played a vital role. Just recently, HardwareZone and StarHub recently arranged for a special NFC trial for a select number of our community members.  During the 10-day trial, the 9 forum members were entitled to use the stored value of their SIM cards ($60 value) for their micro-payment like grocery, shopping at major apparel stores and merchants. Here's what they had to say from their usage experience in practical day to day scenarios that would surely be helpful for our fellow readers. Lastly, here's an ultra short video clip from our forum member siandiao that captured the process in actual use:-

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