What is NFC and what can it do for me? Well, take this scenario:
At a rehearsal the other night, with a 12-piece band, it came to that awkward moment when everyone had to pay the bandleader their cut of the room fee.
In a flurry of hands scrounging through pockets and flustered attempts to find the right amount of money, I asked the bandleader if he could supply me his bank details. With that, I logged on to netbanking on my smartphone and made the transfer – what a whiz I was! Well, it seemed to create more problems than it solved for our poor bandleader: the other ten members asked for the same thing. Bank details, log on, transfer...half an hour later...
I thought, ‘What if there was a system like Melbourne’s new public transport ticketing system Myki or London’s Oyster, where simply putting a device near another device makes an instant electronic transaction?’ Our bandleader could stand at the door with his phone presented, and well all file out, ‘touching off’ for the night. Phone meets phone: paid. Phone meets phone: paid. And so on.
NFC (Near Field Communication) technology would allow for this. This technology has been around for a few years, but the potential of its use seems to have been floating in space while electronics manufacturers decide how to use it best.
This concept is technically already in use with VISA’s Paywave debit cards, but this is mostly at the physical, and often human-staff-manned, point of sale.
In the US, experiments with drink vending machines by VISA are taking it one step further. Purchasers can simply place their smartphones within ten centimetres of the machine, and NFC technology will have the machine ‘talk’ to your phone, debiting the money from a nominated bank account.
Great, huh? No ‘expiring’ debit card, no cash, and no withdrawing the minimum $20 from an ATM to make a $2.50 purchase.
And it’s not just for transferring money. Transferring ANY data is possible through this technology – music files, movies or pictures. In fact, if it can be digitised, it’s instantly transferable. NFC – and NFA (Near Field Audio), NFC’s cousin – has also been used as a wireless medium with which to amplify music from portable devices like smartphones and tablets, like Kaiser Baas’s CONTACT Speaker and Jawbone’s Jambox.
Kaiser Baas have some exciting new products coming out soon which utilise NFC, so stay tuned! Now, off to show the drummer how to use his phone...
- the KB Tech Tiger
Buying a Drink with NFC