NFC Misconceptions

NFC Misconceptions

Here we demystify the top 6 misconceptions around NFC and smart products.

May 22, 2019

There is still a lot of education that needs to be done around Near-field Communication, commonly known as NFC. Businesses have an idea of the technology, but often little more is known. Not to mention, a lot of myths and misunderstandings exist around this powerful technology. Here, we demystify the top 6 misconceptions around NFC and smart products.

1 - NFC = Near-field Communication

NFC = Near-field Communication
Near-field Communication

When searching for "NFC", more likely than not, you will get results pertaining to the National Football League. NFC technology has little to do with football (unless you mean the adidas World Cup Ball, that is). In tech parlance, NFC refers to a small-range technology that allows devices to “speak with one another.” NFC can be embedded in products, packaging and labels, digital signage, smartcards and more. Devices with NFC read capabilities, such as phones, can interact with NFC-enabled products to unlock digital experiences.

2 - Does NFC require a battery?

No, NFC-embedded objects do not need a power source. An NFC chip is made up of a small storage memory, radio chip and an antenna. To work, NFC chips leverage the power of an NFC reading device, such as a phone. With a max range of 10cm/4in, the chip picks up the device’s electromagnetic waves and wirelessly transfers data embedded on the chip to the phone or tablet. The data displayed is known as the “digital experience.” Embedded product websites are commonly referred to as “experiences” because they enhance the experience of owning the product. Any physical item that has an NFC chip embedded in it becomes a “smart product.” Such experiences permit individuals access to the customized digital resources intended to provide deeper engagement between the object and the user.

3 - Is NFC new?

RFID has been around since the 1980s, and NFC was invented in 2002 by NXP, Sony, and Nokia. NFC is now an established communication technology, already being widely used. For example, Android, Apple, and Samsung Pay are notable uses of NFC technology that facilitate easy and secure transfer of payment between consumers and POS systems with just one tap.

To learn more about the similarities and differences between RFID and NFC see RFID vs NFC.

4 - NFC must be expensive and complicated, right?

NFC Cost
NFC Cost

Depending on the manufacturer, NFC Chips cost an average of $0.25 per chip, and RFID can cost anywhere between $0.05-$0.10 cents, making both very affordable solutions. While the price difference between NFC and RFID may seem significant, when either is bought in large volumes, they both drop to less than $0.10 per chip. NFC chips are also easy to implement given their small size. They can be attached or embedded to variety of products. NFC can also reshape the way we handle packaging, organize and store all printed documents, and deliver brand messaging.

5 - What is the value for my products?

Embedding an NFC chip into your product transforms the time into a private, 1:1 content channel between you and your customer. Today, you mostly reach your audiences through social media, email and display ads. Social media poses a problem in that the content published lives on a 3rd party platform, which means you no longer own your audience and the data behind it. Moreover, it is on these platforms where your competitors also vie for your audience’s attention. Email has become less effective due to the sheer number of emails people receive today and end up deleting as a result. Finally, display ads provide a generic and disruptive experience, leading many to completely ignore them and in some cases, install ad-blockers. Having a private communication channels with each of your customers ensures that you remain relevant to your customers, build an organic relationship, and earn their loyalty. Moreover, through data collected, you can understand where, when and how customers are using your products.

6 - All of this for one-time use?

NFC Location Experience

NFC embedment is not meant for one-time use. NFC chips can be updated as frequently as desired. With regular updates, consumers are encouraged to interact with their product multiple times. Moreover, experiences that adapt based on location, are ones that can be tapped by users on a consistent basis. For example, a sneaker that suggests nearby running trails will always be useful to runners who are looking for new paths to conquer. Each experience will offer new insights on consumers and how to better plan products for future production.

NFC poses itself as a very versatile and valuable technology. Understanding its true potential gives forward thinking brands an edge over competitors. To learn more about NFC or Smart Products check out The Complete Guide to NFC.

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