NFC Tags Can Boost Your Product Sale

I found an NFC App Development book, “NFC Application Development for Android” and decided to use the book as a guide to develop my NFC app. Since I didn’t have the Android programing environment on my new NFC enabled tablet, I downloaded and installed software. While I was waiting for the process to complete, I wished that the book had provided an NFC tag to help me set up a development environment. That would save me time.

What is an NFC tag? Readers of this blog might wonder. Here is a short introduction. An NFC tag may look like a sticker; it contains an antenna and a limited amount of memory. When an NFC device touches a tag, the tag takes a small amount of power from it and activates its electronics to transfer data to the NFC device. There are different types of tags and different tags have different memory capacities. Usually the information is stored in a specific data format (NDEF-NFC data exchange format) in the tag.

NFC tags cost about a dollar. As the price drops, we shall see significant usage increase since most of the smart phones are NFC enabled. NFC tags can be embedded almost anything including posters, wearable devices, clothing, etc. For example, as a prototype effort, Adidas added NFC tags to boost their running shoes sale. Shoppers could find details product information by tapping their NFC enabled phones to an NFC tag embedded in “lace jewel”. The jewel receives live social networking feeds from a combination of platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so that it also can provide product reviews to the shoppers. It’s a powerful experience. I believe similar user experience will be integrated to our everyday life soon.

TechEd and WWDC reflection

Last week the TechEd North America conference was held in New Orleans and new features for Windows 8.1 were presented. One of these new features is called tap-to-pair printing. When you put an NFC tag on an enterprise network printer, you can tap your Windows 8.1 device within 4 cm of the printer in order to establish connectivity so that you are able to print. There is no need to look for a correct printer on the network. Enterprise printing is made easy! This is a good demonstration of an NFC use case.

This week, iOS 7.0 was announced in Apple’s Developer conference. Nothing was mentioned about NFC. It makes me wonder about Apple’s NFC business strategy. When I attended the App World in London last October, vendors were already making iPhone 4 NFC sleeves in order to test mobile payments. Will the peripheral device becomes a trend for the iPhone, when Apple does not make an NFC enabled device? What are the risks and opportunities for the peripheral device makers that are investing in the NFC iPhone capability?

Yesterday Microsoft released a free app that will enable Office 365 for the iPhone. After the app is downloaded, you need to subscribe to Cloud based Office 365. That’s an up sell for iPhone users to adopt Office 365. It looks like the Microsoft business strategy is to generate revenue from the subscription model and extend the user base beyond the traditional Windows user. Tapping into the iPhone market seems to be a profitable path. Do you think NFC vendors should be committed to step into the similar path and offer iPhone NFC capability?

Apple’s NFC Patent

A patent was issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office to Apple on June 4th, 2013.  The patent “System and method for simplified data transfer” was filed on June 8th, 2008.

Near Field Communication was in the summary of the patent as follows:
“A method of performing the simplified data transfer may include initiating communication using near field communication (NFC) between two devices. Next, data associated with open applications on one of the two devices may be saved and then transferred to the other. Transferring the data may take place using a peer-to-peer connection other than via NFC. “

In the current market, many newer mobile phones have NFC capability. Koichi Tagawa, NFC Forum chairman, presented The Worldview of NFC to the NFC Solutions Summit last month. He pointed out that the fast moving tablet segment is adopting NFC. ABI Research expects that 285 million NFC enabled devices will be shipped in 2013 [1].

Interestingly enough, since so many mobile devices that have NFC capability are in the market, Apple has not yet indicated their intention to adopt NFC into its lineup. The patent for NFC simplified data transfer gives Apple an incredible competitive advantage when they adopt the NFC technology and mobile apps are being developed.

[1] : http://www.abiresearch.com/press/nfc-will-come-out-of-the-trial-phase-in-2013-as-28

What Is NFC?

nfcpic

Field Communication(NFC) technology, an RFID based short range (up to 4cm) wireless connectivity will impact our everyday life when adoption rate goes up.

This blog is created to facilitate the discussion and support the early adopters.

Please see my other NFC blog posts:

NFC Security Discussion in the NFC Solution Summit 2013

NFC Summit Solutions 2013

Driving NFC User Experience At The WIMA NFC USA Conference