NFC’s or Near Field Communication devices are apparently becoming more and more mainstream. In short, they combine both an RFID antenna and a tag in one unified device. When interrogating another device, it can quickly swap information: URL’s, image data, text, etc. Perhaps another way to describe it is to say that its like extreme short-wave Bluetooth, without the authentication. If I wanted to go someplace and hand a piece of digital content to someone today, I’d typically use Bluetooth (yuck: pairing, passwords, acceptance screens) or an app like Bump (fun: but needs specific devices). Hopefully in the near future you’ll be able to swap data with other NFC devices with no authentication.
Imagine being able to hand out a PDF automatically on the show floor. You could set your device to automatically receive these items and put them in stasis somewhere until you were sure you wanted them. Or maybe a clothing item has some detail in the tag that allow you to store it online in the digital storefront for later retrieval?
Google’s Nexus S is the only smartphone I know of to currently have an NFC system built-in, or at least expected to in 2011. Rumors here, apparently point to Apple potentially hiring some folks to participate in this development. (Disclaimer: I own some Apple shares.) I think this is great…the more widespread this technology gets, the better.
In fact, I used NFC’s as the core of a recent RFP I did. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find NFC-equipped devices that would work so I had to make my own: I coupled RFID cards together with an intelligent media player. Assuming it lands, I’ll get a chance to show you exactly what it is.