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GLOBAL- Last month we told you about the NFC hub where you can buy tags, posters, business cards and stickers to use with NFC-enabled phones. So we’ve given them a test. A brief browse of the NFC hub site, demonstrates how useful this technology is already, and it’s barely got started. You can create business cards, for example, which will obviously save you printing costs, as well as the planet.

Checking-in, or rather swiping in to Foursquare becomes simple and fast. And notching up Twitter followers, both personal and business, is easy because all they need do is touch their NFC-enabled phone against your tag.

To see how this actually works, I’ve created several NFC-tagged items. I like my social media and with that comes location-based services, so I’ve created a Foursquare check-in sticker (costing £20, although there is a smaller option for £7). That’s on the wall of the office, allowing me – or anybody else – to check-in using Foursquare. It saves having to load up the app on my phone and find a GPS signal. Now, when I turn up at work, I pull my prototype Nokia N9 phone from my pocket and check-in, just by touching my phone to the sticker and accepting the on-screen command. In the future, before I get to the office, I’ll be able to swipe in at the railway station with an NFC ticket on the handset.

To keep up-to-date with all the tech news on the blogosphere, I use Twitter. So I’ve made a Twitter sticker (again, costing £20 or £7 for the smaller one) with my Twitter ID programmed into it. That’s on the back of my laptop. If people want to follow me, all they need to do is touch their phone against it. That will take them straight to my profile and from there they can see my tweets and decide if they want to follow me. You can also buy the tag without a sticker and carry it in your wallet for people to swipe there. I also reckon it won’t be long before I’ll have a “virtual wallet” in my phone, funded by my bank account, which will allow me to buy stuff via NFC.

My next purchase was a NFC business card (costing £7) containing all my contact details. Not unusual, you may think, as all business cards have contact information on. This one however enables the transfer of all my details to somebody else’s phone by touching the card to their phone. So I never need to physically hand over another business card again. And I’ll only ever need one, instead of a stack from the printer. It won’t be long before people put their CV on one of these things for job hunting.

Another useful side to this technology is the URL campaign.  You can attach any URL to the NFC tag, like the Nokia Conversations URL, for instance. So, that’s what I’ve done. I’ve created an A4 poster that links to It hangs behind my desk in the office, just in case I forget the URL – like that’s going to happen – or so that people visiting my office can see what the latest Nokia news is at Conversations, with just a touch. The A4 poster costs £20.

This kind of campaign is a golden opportunity for businesses who can advertise their latest deals in posters. Or if you’re a manufacturer that builds washing machines, for example, you could have a tag that takes customers to your web site for operating instructions or repairs. And supermarkets will be able to tag food with recipes and information about their product. The applications for this technology are limitless so it’s a good idea to future-proof your next phone by making sure it is ready to go with NFC.

Where would you put your NFC tag? Let me know, below.