In the tantalizing world of technology today, there are endless buzzwords and acronyms for emerging tech you need to know. From AI to the ‘Uber of’ dog walking and everything in-between, maybe you think you’ve heard it all. But before you hop on the hype train and leave the station, take note — an unsuspecting player is poised to leap out of the shadows: Near field communications technology.
Sound familiar? Near field communications technology, known more simply as NFC, is short-range wireless connectivity technology that makes it easy to conduct transactions, exchange digital content, and connect electronic devices with just a touch.
You probably know it best as the technology that powers contactless payments like Android Pay and Apple Pay, allowing you to pay for your Starbucks habit right from your phone. NFC is also responsible for the easy “tap and go” technology behind Clipper transit cards in the San Francisco Bay Area and London’s Oyster transit cards. No more paper ticketing or fumbling with a wallet, just tap your transit card to a reader and you’re on your way.
But the opportunities for NFC don’t stop there: there’s still a lot of untapped potential (pun 100 percent intended) for NFC to grow beyond transit and payments. Here’s a look at how NFC is set to gain traction in the coming years:
The influence of the fruit: Apple opens up NFC
In 2017, Apple opened up iOS 11 to support NFC applications on the iPhone. While they’ve had NFC integrated in their phones for years, it’s no longer locked up and limited to Apple Pay. Third-party developers can now take advantage of iPhones’ ability to read NFC tags. Think of this as a brick wall turning into a gated entry — while you currently still need to download an app in order to read NFC tags from an iPhone, the implications are huge.
That’s not to mention that Android phones — the dominant market leader globally, projected to account for about 85 percent of all smartphone shipments worldwide by 2020 — already include native NFC support on phones ranging from the Samsung Galaxy S9 to the new Google Pixel 2.
In fact, there are already over two billion NFC-enabled devices in the world across…
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