In the not-too-distant future chances are all the cards in your wallet will be replaced by simply using your smartphone, thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC), many local businesses have already experienced the potential of this technology via smartphones.
NFC, the same technology we use in all our bank and credit cards that enables us to access payWave, has already made our lives easier, but it’s soon about to dramatically change the way we live.
Up until recently, it was only the majority of the Android range of phones that could easily interact with NFC. Now that the new iPhones have recently included NFC connectivity into their new phones and operating systems, this technology is about to become more prevalent across a majority of businesses and enterprises.
Numerous small and medium size local businesses have already embraced this NFC technology via Swipe-n-Like, a social media smart tag created by local entrepreneur Nic Zymaras. The tag enables customers to swipe their phone across the tag and immediately connect to the businesses’ Facebook page.
“I first heard about NFC from a friend, who had the idea of creating an interactive business card, and I was amazed at how versatile this technology was and the myriad of applications it could be used for,” Nic says. “I came up with the idea of Swipe-n-Like because I found a lot of small businesses want to engage more with their customers through Facebook. Having a ‘Like us on Facebook’ smart tag on their counters, instead of just a sign, enables their customers to engage with their Facebook page before leaving their premises with just a swipe of their phone – thus the name Swipe-n-Like.”
NFC tags are shock-proof, dust-proof, weather-proof and require no batteries or maintenance, enhancing the longevity of the product.
“We have tested our tags under water and outside exposed to rain, wind and sun for two years and they still work perfectly,” Nic says. “This means these NFC tags can literally last for years and may never need to be replaced.
Phone payment systems via NFC are used extensively in Australia while globally they are used for applications such transport ticketing, airline boarding passes, loyalty programs, promotional campaigns and vending machines, to name just a few uses.
As well, with the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) we will be seeing a lot more connectivity between people’s phones and the physical world.
“Now that iPhones have included the NFC connectivity, I think we’ll see NFC integrated into a lot more products and applications,” says Robert Buhrke, Business Development Manager at the Division of Research and Innovation at James Cook University. “I think people will soon recognise the distinctive logo as they do with the WIFI and USB logos.
“It’s a very valuable technology, so much so that I decided to do my PhD on improving ease-of-use, privacy and security for mobile users through NFC technology, which is a solution that will replace user names and passwords to transition into a completely passwordless world.”
Your Fitness Cairns is the only gym in the city to utilise NFC tags on their gym equipment. They worked with Nic, who is also the owner of Random Press Graphic Design studio in Cairns, to create tutorials for gym members.
“We use the technology on our gym equipment to enable our members to swipe their phones on any piece of ‘tagged’ equipment to see how the machine works,” says Marsha Rohweder, Your Fitness Cairns Club Manager. “We designed 30-second tutorial videos for our pin weight machines that demonstrate the set-up and use of the machines.
“The feedback has been extremely positive. Members love the convenience of being able to watch how the machines work on their phone, enabling them to confidently use the equipment. When my business partner saw the convenience of the tags, he also implemented it into his Sydney gym.”
Since discovering the ease-of-use and secure functions of NFC technology, Nic is constantly coming up with new uses for NFC tags.
“Apart from our flagship Swipe-n-Like product, we are using NFC tags for more than just social media by exploring a range of interactive promotional materials, video tutorials, information tags, menus, flyers, tourism applications and so much more. I just can’t stop thinking of new ways to utilise this user-friendly technology!”