NFC is nothing new, especially since it’s a technology that is now widely available to all new Android smartphones. What surprised me is that though given the technology, many users aren’t really sure of what NFC really does. Here are 5 things that NFC is best used for – and most of them are free too.
There are some special apps needed to perform write data to the NFC tags, like NFC Writer by Tagstand and Trigger. Some also require NFC tags, which you can get some over at our own local store at Lowyat Network over here and also here.Keep in mind that NFC is currently still Android-only.
1. Name card
NFC tags come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (physically and electronically) – they don’t even have to be shaped like a card to be a card. This is particularly useful if you’re always going to share your contact information to other people, and the process of selecting your own contact to be sent through NFC is annoying or when you’re not around in your office. Just stick the NFC tag with your contact information on the wall and let your colleagues or clients do the rest!
Some name cards can store a little more data than others, making it possible to store your name, phone number, and also email address. So do your research before buying those tags!
2. Automatic pairing/sending data
If you ever find it annoying to manually enable Bluetooth, then to search for discoverable device, tap on it, wait for a message prompt and enter the pairing passcode (if any) just to pair a device, then NFC is here to shorten the entire process. Just tap your phone over an NFC-enabled device to be paired with and it will automatically be paired. There are a lot of NFC-enabled devices – for example the X-mini WE thumbsize speaker that we recently reviewed.
We’ve all missed the times where we can just send photos through Bluetooth or Infrared – back during the times where Nokias and Sony Ericssons have their own proprietary software. It is still possible to do so with NFC, but Google’s built-in Android Beam is superbly slow as it sends through Bluetooth instead of utilizing WiFi Direct. Well, there’s an app in town which solves this problem flawlessly, called SuperBeam.
What is convenience without the proper use of NFC to share your home’s WiFi password with guests with only a tap? InstaWiFi lets you do just that and it’s really simple to use. Open the app, enter the WiFi password and write it to a NFC tag. Done! (Note : Your friends will need to have InstaWiFi installed beforehand for it to work.)
3. Social tags
People want to share their online portfolios, websites and their visume to people that they meet. Or maybe just to check in via FourSquare when you reach home or work. Just use the NFC Writer by Tagstand to do everything automatically for you – but make sure you have your NFC tag! Socialites can also have their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page written to the NFC tags, so their online personas can be discovered by others instantly.
4. Sharing music playlists
There’s a new kind of service online called Sharetapes. Each of their NFC cards have a serial code and QR code printed, and is NFC enabled. This card will require you to go to their website, enter that serial code and register yourself an account over at Sharetapes. After that, follow the simple instructions listed on their website to get yourself started on what to link with that Sharetapes card of yours. You can link it to basically anything – it works like a URL redirector, but with an NFC tag. You can link your YouTube, Spotify or 8tracks playlist to the card.
You’ll have to buy their NFC cards for this service though, but the plus point in this is that you get a QR code.
5. Automation (extends your battery life too!)
Who doesn’t love automation? Get the app called Trigger to get started. Don’t worry – this option doesn’t require you to have an NFC tag – or even NFC for this matter!
After getting that app, you can set multiple profiles, depending on what the criterias are and what tasks to do when the aforementioned criterias are met. It’s more like an “if X then Y” type of automation app like Tasker or Locale, which works exceptionally well in most cases. You can expand it to be an “if X then A, B, C, D, E, F” type of profile, it’s just whichever suits your usage that counts. Here are some of the examples of what I have done with the app. There are a lot more combinations which you can create yourself – these are just some of my personal profiles that suits my everyday use. It even helped me to save battery!
These are just five of my personal favourite usages of NFC that I have so far came across. Which is your favourite and what do you hope to see in the future? Do tell us!