5 Cool Ways to Use NFC on Your Smartphone

Samsung recently updated its TecTile App to v.03, giving their NFC-capable smartphones added near-field communication features.  Blank stare. This was how I took in the news when I read it.  Who uses NFC anyway? Apparently, a handful few have found NFC really useful. In fact, the more I read about their experiences, the more I got excited about this technology.  Unlike Japan, the US has not widely adapted NFC. Compared to 3 million NFC-capable phones in the US, Japan has 70 million.

There’s good reason for the slow adoption of NFC in the US, though.  The novelty of paying using a mobile device instead of cash has raised security concerns for a majority of US smartphone users, which justifies why Apple decided to ditch NFC in the iPhone 5. It also takes some time for software and service providers to be ready to process payments made through NFC. That said, educating the public about the merits of NFC will be the number one driving factor for faster adoption of the new technology.  Here are some of the best ways to use NFC:

Automate Work Routines

Sharon Vaknin over at CNET suggests placing an NFC tag on your desk or phone dock, so you can program it to do daily work activities for you. For example, you can enable Wi-Fi, launch your music player, set your business phone on vibrate if you have a meeting, send an SMS, or open a to-do list.  When you’re done with work, simply tap the tag again to disable these features.

Auto-end/start your Day

What’s the cooler way to turn off the lights and set your alarm for the next day? Tap your NFC-capable phone to an NFC tag affixed to your bedside lamp and automatically trigger your phone’s wake-up alarm.

Get a Tour Guide

Embed NFC tags on famous works of art, buildings, and memorials.  Visitors simply scan the tags to see relevant information about the structure or work of art. The National Museum in Krakow in Poland, for example, lets visitors borrow a Nokia C7 smartphone to receive extra information about the pieces in their collection. The Museum of London, also working with Nokia, gives their guests an even more interactive experience. By tapping your phone on an NFC tag, you can book tickets, buy prints, and access vouchers for the museum’s cafés and shops.

Open Doors

NFC-enabled devices can be used as security badges. Simply tap or wave your phone at a door with an NFC tag to gain entry. BMW, for instance, uses NFC-enabled car keys to book hotels while on the go and quickly access their hotel rooms without needing to go through the check-in process.

Travel Better

Use your NFC phone to act as your all-in-one boarding pass and ticket, so you can spend less waiting time on the airport. You can also view travel information like the estimated arrival of the next bus. This convenience is already being experienced by Tokyo travellers. In San Francisco, commuters can now also use their NFC phones to pay their parking meters.

NFC will indubitably add a coolness factor to your routine, not to mention afford you more conveniences.