QR codes just haven’t taken off the way the industry envisioned. In an age of consumer empowerment, you don’t tell people what to use or embrace…they’ll tell you. They told us that QR codes were too clunky and had too many steps from ‘notice to value’.
Near Field Communication
By embedding inexpensive chips, we can allow consumers (and workers) to simply tap and discover. In a recent Venture Beat story, Fusion92 VP of Innovation Jacob Beckley put it this way:
Both NFC and QR codes serve a similar function: They are a bridge between the physical and digital worlds. NFC codes create a digital bridge to physical collateral, and unlike calls to action that require consumers to type in a URL or scan a code to get redirected to an online message, with NFC, all the consumer has to do is touch their smartphone or mobile device to the collateral for an instantaneous connection.
NFC is simply put, easier to use, meaning it will be embraced much faster as it is made available. The holdout has been Apple, slow to adopt NFC. Maybe for once demand will push Apple in a new direction…but before we think so, consider Apple’s resistance to Flash and what that did for Adobe.
NFC is a standard set up to allow devices to exchange data based on proximity. One device needs to be powered but not the other end of the connection, meaning the ‘second half’ of the equation can be simply an RFID tag that sits indefinitely waiting to be queried.
Common uses for NFC include payment systems include:
- Credit cards and mobile payment
- Eticket systems like the Oyster Card in the UK
- Loyalty programs providing differing offers and levels of service based customer level
- Identity management
These outward-looking systems are a clear benefit to the consumer but there are as many opportunities in the workplace:
- Security through identity management
- Authorization and workflow exception management
- Process kickoff and continuation
- Property location and loss prevention
- Timecarding (checking in or out of a job site)
We’ve had some of these capabilities for a while but they weren’t integrated with other systems to provide an ability to connect, understand, anticipate and act. When the silos come down, NFC offers a host of benefits that are part of our accelerating move toward the Internet of Things.
What NFC ends up being is a virtual doorway for many purposes. Enter a shop and tap the NFC tag near the door to pick up their wireless settings and see what’s happening in the moment. Enter your home and immediately switch to the appropriate settings just as you did when you got in your car.
NFC is a way to invisibly pass through electronic borders without changing platforms. There’s so much we can to make these doorways work at work, for our home and our customers. It’s a remarkable link between the virtual and the physical.