What is NFC? NFC and the new Google Wallet.

September 27th, 2011 by | No Comments »

For those who didn’t hear, Google released their new future project: The Google Wallet. Google Wallet will allow users to purchase their various needs and sundries at their favorite stores using their cell phone connected to their bank account. Already in use in other countries, the launch of the Google Wallet is Americas first step towards creating a point-of-sale network that implements a new form of technology called NFC, or “near-field communication”.

Near field communication is a project that has been in the works between Sony and NXP since 2003 and works in a way much similar to RFID chips found in things like the Paypass technology provided by Mobil and Mastercard. The difference between RFID (radio frequency identification) and NFC is that NFC works with a small antenna and chip set built specifically into phones so that data may only be transmitted a small distance, roughly 4-6 inches; whereas RFID can send data over much farther distances over an easily interceptable frequency. This close proximity allows NFC technology to carry out very secure tasks, such as Google’s new product: the Google Wallet.

It will take a few years for the Google Wallet to catch on to mainstream, but if it catches on like it has in other countries you can expect it to be just as prevalent of a payment option as cash or your credit card. As more cell phones featuring NFC technology are created and more businesses adopt the NFC option, then we can really see how much consumers like the idea of purchasing things with their mobile device.

NFC may also be used for things other than purchases and transactions. As a matter of fact, the amount of things NFC can be used for is only limited the acceptance of the technology by the masses. Here are a couple ideas of how NFC could be used for other purposes:

Concert tickets– Imagine being at a bar. A nearby table of friends are talking about the concert they are going to see down the street. With NFC, you could purchase tickets to that show, present your smartphone to the ticket taker, scan it, and boom. Your in the concert.
Public transportation– No more fidgeting with coins and searching for exact fare. Preloaded fare cards, monthly passes, and transfers could now be stored within your wireless device to be dispensed amongst your various modes of bus, subway, trolley car, and whathaveyou.
Smart objects– Once NFC is more of a standard, your phone will become your own personal shopper. By tapping the icon next to a project with your phone, a plethora of info about the product will make itself available to you instantly, plus other apps may show you featured accessories for that product and maybe even where to get it cheaper.
Health Care– God forbid you are ever in a tragic accident, but if you were an NFC encoded medical file could be inserted into your phone for emergency use. A big get if you are diabetic or have allergies to medication. Granted there are a few legal hurdles to make this one happen, but it could become a potentially indespensible life-saving tool for emergency responders and care workers alike.
– Social media and Location services-  The idea is simple, everytime you make a purchase via NFC, you may also elect to check into your surroundings via your favorite location service. Creating effortless check-in services for companies like Foursquare, Google Places, and Yelp will increase their followship (as well as their marketshare).

Are you going to be using Google Wallet and NFC technology? What do you think are some of the new areas NFC will come into play in the near future?

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