What is Near Field Communication?


Near field communication (NFC) enables mobile and other devices to securely exchange radio communications with each other, either when they are touched together or brought in close proximity. The standards for NFC are based on existing radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems to allow two-way communication between devices, and essentially boils down to short-range wireless protocols that function similarly to Bluetooth, but with a highly secure transmission protocol. Common uses of NFC for commerce, social interactions, and security respectively include contactless transactions at stores, data and media exchange, and encrypted identity keycards — all accessible via mobile device. Google Wallet, for example, allows users to store credit card information on their NFC-enabled smartphone so that they can simply swipe their phone at a pay station and the purchase is instantly completed. Because NFC also enables users to share contacts, photos, videos, and audio files with each other by simply moving the mobile devices close together, it could become a powerful technology for seamless collaboration and the easy exchange of information and content.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • As Aaron mentioned below: at first for self check out. But there are more scenarios in which NFC will play an important role: indoor navigation for example. Objects with an NFC chip can be "thinking things" in the Internet of Things. I would like to mention also iBeacons as a related technology. Both can be used also for communication and marketing. - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 14, 2015
  • absolutely - a print copy could potentially also hold or trigger the content from the book to a users device on NFC, users could issue the book to themselves, scan shelves using smart phones or tablets, use location based services. Potentially evolving library technologies towards user focussed experiences rather than the traditional administrative functions - DaveP DaveP Apr 19, 2015
  • NFC around the building could trigger information about services, request help etc- DaveP DaveP Apr 19, 2015
  • NFC could be greatly relevant for self service apps replacing book checkout machines. The potential is however hindered by user adoption.Very few people actually knows what it is, and NFC is so far only enabled on a few number of devices running Android. The technology exists on newer iOS devices, but is locked down for general use. - erik.stattin erik.stattin Apr 26, 2015


(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • Most obvious, self check out - aarontay aarontay Apr 10, 2015
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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