Let’s Get Really Social!

Near Field Communications, or NFC, is the real-life version of a Minority Report-like future where ad panels recognized the character played by Tom Cruise, offering tailored products as he walked past.

NFC works via a close-range radio signal, providing contactless communication between devices like smart phones and tablets, or between a device and an NFC chip, or tag. These tags can both deliver AND receive information from your phone.

Uses are endless, from paying for your coffee at Starbucks to getting more information about a product on a shelf.

By taking advantage of the cool new things NFC can bring us, we also open the door to everything from text messages from brands we walk by, to apps triggered on our phones urging us to look at them, to a cereal box calling us by name because we Liked the brand on Facebook.

Information can now be perfectly tailored to you. That means you might get all the nutrient and health benefits from a fruit drink while your spouse may get messaging about getting nutrients quickly on the go; the former because he has searched Google for dieting, and the latter because she is a senior executive with a full schedule.

You could tap your phone to a pair of jeans that you are considering buying and your friends will all get the message. You could instantly Like the brand by swiping a tag behind a Facebook icon. You could swipe an NFC tag to let your friends know that you have arrived somewhere.

Car manufacturers are looking at using NFC to unlock your door and start your car. You could pull up to an NFC tag on a pole and get directions to the nearest gas station or Subway. Other cool uses include linking your headset or printer to your phone with just a touch, or getting premium tour information at a museum with a wave of your phone.

Some hospitals use NFC to tag patients, allowing doctors and nurses to access patient specifics. Another very cool use is called SleepTrak. You strap a small device to your arm to monitor your sleep and then tap the device to your phone to upload to the app for analysis.

Near Field Communications are coming our way quickly, but the fact that it wasn’t offered on the iPhone 5 means many will have to wait. All of Apple’s larger competitors already have NFC technology in a number of their smart phones and many card-swiping devices are set to take advantage of it.

But remember…