What exactly is NFC? NFC, or Near Field Communication, is the technology that allows certain devices to communicate with each other through radio communication by being in the same proximity of each other, usually no more than a few centimeters. This is based on the same technology as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Uses for this includes payments and ticketing, point of sale couponing, checking in with location based social media networks such as Foursquare, loyalty programs, smart posters, cards, and stickers, and many more.
To a lot of people, it could be the future, but to many others, it’s pretty scary. The thought of transmitting information through your phone just by walking by an external device would make many people nervous.
McDonald’s restaurants have already rolled out NFC in Japan, allowing customers to download coupons, place orders, redeem coupons, and pay for their order from mobile devices. Soon you’ll be able to get on a bus and swipe your phone next to a sensor that will read your account and automatically pay for your fare. In Paris, the Centre Pompidou museum will use NFC technology to allow visitors to learn more about artists and their work by waving their phone near exhibits. NFC also can allow users to share photos and videos just by touching their devices together.
Google, Apple and Amazon are all currently exploring opportunities using NFC. The technology is still very rare in the US but has become pretty common in parts of Asia and Europe, and as smartphone adoption continues to increase in the states, we will see an increase in NFC usage over the coming years.