Near Field Technology (NFC) is a wireless communication technology that enables users to share data between two NFC-enabled electronic devices.
The technology uses NFC tags with enough memory to store data. However, this data sharing technique is only practical if the two devices are at most 4 inches away from each other.
This article enumerates the ten coolest NFC tags uses that will transform your life for the better. It also offers a comprehensive guide on the usage of NFC tags Android and NFC tags iPhone. Read on.
What is NFC Tag?
The idea that you could make contactless payments for your shopping bills may have seemed like far-fetched fiction, but it is now a reality.
Yes! NFC tags have made it possible to shop for groceries, pay for your fuel, and pay any other bill by merely taking your card near an NFC reader stationed at the shopping stores.
But how exactly does NFC tag technology work?
Well, an NFC tag refers to a chip that can store data. It integrates an antenna that helps in radio wave transmissions. You can add the small NFC tag to materials such as credit/debit cards, wristbands, and key fobs.
Whenever the tag is near an NFC reader, it detects the reader’s waves and sends the data through the antenna. Once the reader receives the data, it sends it to the NFC software for analysis.
If the data is authenticated, then the reader will subtract the bill from the card’s balance. This process takes a few seconds to complete. You can use it for access management, event management, and many other activities that need prompt identification.
RFID vs. NFC: What’s the Difference?
While there are a few differences between RFID and NFC, both use radio waves to send and receive information. Here is a breakdown of the two closely related technologies:
RFID vs. NFC: Definitions
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless data transfer technology. It uses radio waves to exchange data, and it is useful in identifying and tracking valuable commodities. It has RFID tags that store encoded data.
NFC refers to a short-range wireless technology, primarily used in electronic devices and smartphones to share information. It enables two devices to establish communication with each other.
RFID Tags vs. NFC Tags: What’s the Difference?
NFC tags use a similar concept as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. When you have them, you can exchange data between devices. However, RFID tags use different frequencies ranging from 125 kHz to more than 900 MHz.
On the contrary, NFC tags use a standard frequency of 13.56 MHz, similar to a high-frequency RFID tag. Additionally, NFC is standardized by ISO/IEC 18092 to ensure that it meets the safety requirements, thus safeguarding the users.
Also, NFC devices can act as both the reader and the tag. When sharing data, the recipient device becomes the reader, while the sender is the tag that stores/transfers the data. On the other hand, RFID tags only store information, making it mandatory to have an RFID reader for the system to work optimally.
12 Creative Ways to Use NFC Tags
1.NFC Tags for Contactless Payment/ Card Emulation
This is, without a doubt, the most revolutionary NFC tags’ application. You no longer need to carry your wallet/purse to pay your bills!
The card emulation technology powers the Android Pay and Apple Pay platforms. These payment options are available to everybody with an NFC-enabled smartphone.
Wondering how you can use your smartphone to pay your bills? Well, this is how:
The smartphones are wired in a way that you can incorporate your credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, and every other financial detail that you may desire.
All these payment details are stored in an NFC tag imbibed on the smartphones. Whenever you approach an NFC reader, it will read all the details and subtract the bill from your credit card.
What’s even more enticing about NFC contactless payment is its simplicity. You’ll never be required to provide your signature or add additional information before making a payment. This way, the NFC payment options are fast and reliable.
Even better, NFC payment methods are relatively safer than swiping your card through a magnetic card reader. Most of the digital e-wallets tokenize your financial details, thus blocking access from unauthorized individuals.
2.Use NFC to Automate Your Home
How would it feel when you turn on your Wi-Fi and disable Bluetooth without having to remember your complicated passwords?
Well, there is a myriad of NFC tag ideas that can enable you to automate most of your home activities. Here are a few practical examples:
- Give Access to Wi-Fi. When using NFC tags, you do not need to give out your password to activate your home internet. Instead, you can feed the password into an NFC tag and activate the Wi-Fi by a simple tap on your smartphone/ any other NFC tag carrier. This way, you will safeguard your password while simplifying the entire process of activating your Wi-Fi.
- Turn On/Off Electronic Appliances. As technology advances, most companies are manufacturing NFC-enabled devices. If you have such an appliance, you can configure it in a way that you can switch it on by simply tapping on your NFC-enabled iPhone or Android smartphone.
- Auto-Sync Your Music. How about turning your Bluetooth on/off and automatically syncing your music? It’s cool, right? Well, you can achieve this if you have an NFC-enabled Android or iOS device and an NFC-enabled stereo system. A simple tap on your phone will connect the two devices, auto-sync, and allow you to listen to your favorite music without a hassle.
If you apply NFC optimally in your house, you can be sure that you will transform your house into a modern smart home. You’ll simplify many activities, which will save you time and offer unmatched convenience.
3.Switching Your Lights On/Off
To achieve this cool NFC tag application, you will be required to buy NFC tags (approximately $10 per piece). Additionally, you must have an NFC-enabled Android smartphone and an app that can help you write on the NFC tags (you can use NFC tools, NFC tag writer, NFC launcher, NFC commander, among others).
Once you get your tag, you will have to program it using your NFC writer application. For example, you can modify the tag by writing, “If off, turn on; otherwise, turn off.” This message is a command, and whenever you bring your phone close to the tag, it will read it and implement the intended action.
It would be best if you placed your tag close to the door. This way, you will quickly turn on the lights when entering the house or turn them off when leaving. To get the best results with this automation concept, you may require to use Phillips Hue Bulbs.
4.Start Your PC Remotely
Starting your PC without pressing its power button may sound like a far-fetched idea. However, this trick is possible using NFC technology. When you integrate the technology, your PC will roar to life after placing your NFC-enabled phone on the desk!
Even more impressive, achieving this is not as complicated as you may think. It only requires simple adapter settings adjustments of your PC (control panel>network and internet>change adapter settings>Ethernet>configure properties>advanced>enter IP address). You will also need a write/read NFC tag and an NFC-enabled phone.
Once you finish adjusting the settings, you should get an application to write the commands on your NFC tag. This ensures that your NFC-enabled phone can read the tag and execute the command without delay. Once through, your PC will start whenever your phone is nearby.
5.Use NFC to Help You Get Out of Bed
For most people, getting out of bed is a hassle. It doesn’t matter how many times their alarm rings; they will always stretch out their arm and snooze it!
If you’ve found yourself in such situations, then it is time you consider using NFC to help you wake up every morning.
To achieve this, you will need to integrate other apps such as Sleep as Android. This application will integrate an alarm with an NFC tag using in-app captchas.
You can use it to write on the NFC tag a command that the only time the alarm can stop is if you physically bring your phone close to the tag. This way, stretching your arm out to your bedside drawer will not help!
If you want it to work optimally, you should stick the NFC tag far away from your bed. That way, you will have no option but to wake up, grab your phone, and start walking towards the NFC tag’s location. As such, you can be sure that this will significantly reduce the chances of snoozing the alarm or getting late to work.
6.Check Your Bank Balance by a Simple Tap on Your Wallet
This sounds like magic, but it is real when you use an NFC tag. While the set-up process may be a little bit complex, it will help you for a long time once complete.
To start with, you will need to consult your bank to ensure that they allow text banking. If they do, you will install two plugins: one to link NFC to your bank account and the other to integrate the SMS feature. For example, you can use the Trigger App and Trigger SMS Plugin to complete this process.
Once you install your ideal application, you should create a task using your NFC phone. Ensure that you activate the “Send a Text Message” feature before entering your automated balance request phone number (given by your bank) under the “Recipient category.”
When you’re through with this configuration, you’ll be asked to scan an NFC tag. Complete this simple process and then stick the tag on your wallet, and you’ll be set!
A simple tap of your wallet will help you get your bank balance via an SMS. Interestingly, you’ll get your message in seconds, which is faster and convenient than accessing your bank app manually.
7.Use NFC Tags in Your Kitchen
Automating your cooking is one of the most revolutionary home uses of NFC. The technology helps you to start timers, set alarms, access online recipes, among other purposes.
All you will need is a cheap NFC tag. If you’re wondering where you can buy NFC tags, then worry no more! These simple chips are available in many online stores, including Amazon, at $5-10, depending on their nature.
Once you get it, you will use an NFC app on your Android phone to configure it. You can have as many tags as you wish, all with different commands. This way, you will execute a command of choice by simply tapping your phone! NFC tag uses in the kitchen are limitless.
8.NFC Business Cards
With the current technology, you do not need to carry thousands of business cards to distribute to your potential clients. Instead, you can have an NFC-enabled business card.
This card allows you to transfer all your information to your client’s phone by simply tapping it. This way, you will never experience the hassle of explaining when your cards run out in a business fair!
Even better, NFC business cards will eliminate the cost of printing, thus reducing the overhead costs for your business.
9.Automate Your Phone Tasks
While Android and iOS device manufacturers have tried creating a user-friendly interface, nothing beats the simplicity that comes with integrating NFC into your mobile device.
Using NFC tags, you will create shortcuts for recurrent and straightforward processes such as calling a friend, opening your phone’s camera, and starting a streaming session.
If you want to achieve this, you will need an NFC tag. Include all the commands you need, and you’ll execute the action by simply tapping on your phone.
10.Lock & Unlock Your Door
If you’ve been dreaming of owning a smart home, then automating your door using NFC is an ideal starting point. This technology offers a relatively affordable door automation method.
However, you will be required to install a supportive application, such as Lockitron, to complete the installation process.
This application enables you to use NFC tags to lock or unlock your door. Just buy your tag and write the commands on it. You should then install it on your door and link it to a specific NFC-enabled smartphone.
Whenever you approach your door, your phone will read the NFC tag and unlock the door. The entire process takes just a few seconds, saving you the hassle of unlocking padlocks or entering security keywords to gain access to your house.
Even better, you can use the Lockitron application to control the lock of your door from any location in the world. It also connects to your house’s Wi-Fi. This feature enables you to get notifications whenever a friend enters your house.
11.Use NFC Technology to Identify Counterfeit Products
The rise of counterfeit products in the market has been an issue of concern for many manufacturers. As a result, most of them have adopted NFC tags to counter the vice.
To achieve this, the manufacturers are affixing NFC tags containing information about the product. The data may include details such as the date of manufacture, batch number, and product specification.
If you have an NFC-enabled smartphone, you’ll scan this tag and get all the details about the product, thus eliminating any chance of purchasing a counterfeit product.
12.Tourist Navigation Using NFC
When tourists visit any scenic site, they may fail to capture the relevance of such attraction sites. It becomes more complicated when they have no tour guides, or there are language barriers.
However, you can use NFC technology to handle this problem. All you’ll need is an NFC tag with reading/write functionalities. You can then encode a URL to a video with all the details regarding that specific scene.
Finally, you should ensure that you place the tag in an easily accessible area with clear instructions such as “Scan Here to Learn More About This Museum.”
If the tourists have NFC-enabled phones, they will get all the details about the scene without having to look for a guide. You can also use the NFC tag to offer suggestions on the best accommodation areas and eateries within the locale.
Is NFC Compatible with Android and iOS?
NFC tags Android have been in existence from the early days of smartphones. However, NFC tags usage in the iPhone was only unveiled after the launch of Apple Pay. Even then, iPhone device owners were only allowed to use NFC when using Apple Pay for bill payments.
Recently, Apple started including an NFC tag in their devices. All devices after iPhone 7 (those running iOS 13 and above) support NFC contactless payments and other NFC tag uses. As such, if you own iPhone 7 and above, you will be able to program your NFC tags for any functionality you desire.
On the other hand, it would help if you checked whether that Android phone you’re interested in is NFC-enabled. NFC tags android support is never guaranteed and varies with the phone model you buy.