Personal Small Business Enterprise

NFC: Three Letters You Should Know About

Posted August 20, 2012 in Business, New Technology, Smartphones by 3

Have you heard of NFC? It’s a term that’s been creating buzz in the world of small business recently, and for good reason. NFC stands for “Near Field Communication” — a category of technology that allows smartphones and other electronic devices to communicate with one another simply by bringing them close together.

There is no doubt this technology will be playing a big role in our lives soon. In fact, Bell already offers several smartphones equipped with NFC capability, including the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the BlackBerry Bold 9900, and the brand new Samsung Galaxy SIII,  that will allow you to take advantage of this technology.

While the effects of NFC haven’t sent shockwaves across the world of Canadian business just yet, change is in the air with new applications for NFC being introduced frequently. NFC could very well change how entire industries operate, particularly how businesses serve and interact with their customers.

Let’s take a peek into the future and look at three areas of your business that NFC might be disrupting in the next few years. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to take advantage of this technology when the time comes.


Imagine your customers quickly paying for your goods and services just by tapping their smartphones against an NFC-enabled checkout device. With recent advances in NFC technology, and an ever-growing number of NFC-capable phones, this isn’t far from reality.

In fact, current NFC services are being developed that allow users to store credit card and loyalty card information on their phones in a “virtual wallet”. They can then tap these phones against in-store terminals to process transactions. While this exciting new technology has only been rolled out on a limited basis, we can expect it (along with similar services) to soon change how customers pay for goods in Canada.

As a business owner with brick-and-mortar locations, considerations should be made about how NFC might change your Point of Sale system, and what strategies you could develop to take advantage of it.

Social Networking

NFC-enabled Social Networking will allow customers to interact with your business in new and exciting ways. By simply tapping their phones against NFC-enabled devices in your stores, you can automatically facilitate customer Facebook check-ins and status updates, Tweets, real-time discounts, information sharing, and countless other social actions.

For example, as a customer’s smartphone nears an NFC terminal in your store, a prompt can be sent to their phone notifying them that, if they choose to tweet about you, they’ll gain access to exclusive product discounts.

Customer Service

With NFC, employees who once worked the register can spend more time serving customers on the sales floor. And because customers will be able to pay for their goods quickly and easily, time spent waiting in line (and the frustration that goes with it) will be reduced.

Also, placing NFC tags throughout the store will allow customers to use their phones to learn more about your products while they shop. This includes prices, specs, and even discounts. As a result, customers are likely to be happier, better informed and more loyal, which ultimately should translate into better sales.

Be prepared to take advantage of NFC

There is no shortage of ways NFC technology can accomplish business objectives with innovative new ideas popping up all the time. To learn more about NFC and keep yourself ahead of the curve, we recommend checking out NFC World, a source for NFC updates, news, and know-how.

Do you have any thoughts on how your business could adopt NFC technology? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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3 responses to “NFC: Three Letters You Should Know About”

  1. As NFC has a short range and supports encryption, it may be more suitable than earlier, less private RFID systems. It’s interesting to note that this might just take over Bluetooth in some applications (file transfers, music sync etc). Might even be much more clearer and less susceptible to noise, unlike the bluetooth protocol that operates in 2.4ghz (think cordless phones, wifi and more)

  2. John Bigsman says:

    But can we expect the Bluetooth industry to just sit there? From cars to headsets to millions of accessories that are fully reliant on Bluetooth, which is also a energy efficient as well. Can NFC claim the same?

  3. Raymond Wang says:

    Bilal — yes, NFC’s implementation is stronger for file syncs but as the author of the post indicated, the strongest play will be in commerce.

    John — you are right, it will take years before NFC matures. Technically, all of it fall under generic NFC.

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