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October 25, 2011

In Focus: NFC vs. Bluetooth

The future is here, and it’s NFC-shaped. Or so we’ve  been told. Is it possible that the Bluetooth we’ve all come become accustomed to may be replaced by the new pretender.

I remember being told how Bluetooth would work, and thinking ‘Yeah, right!’, especially when I was told it was named after an ancient Scandinavian king. But I’ve been so used to Bluetooth for so long now that a new technology seems like a bit of a cuckoo, stealing in and taking the place of Bluetooth. But I Must. Embrace. Change.

An NFC-enabled business card – details transferred direct to your phone

The origins of NFC can be traced back to 1945 when a device called The Thing (very sci-fi) was used by the Soviet Union to spy on the American ambassador in Moscow. Because it used passive techniques to transmit an audio signal, it’s considered a predecessor to current RFID technology, which in turn led to NFC.

Fast forward to today and Near Field Communication (NFC) is capable of seemingly so much – wave your phone at a poster and movie times appear, hover over a business card and you have the details instantly, tap your Nokia on the new Luna headset (or another phone), and they’re paired – no searching. Paying for things with a swipe of your phone is also on the horizon, so you can leave your wallet at home! This, in fact, is the ‘sexiest and most high profile’ use for NFC according to Steve on All About Symbian.

Gaming using NFC – neat

Indeed, Varun contends on Fone Arena that Nokia have ‘early mover advantage’ in the NFC field, but (embracing change) how will it be better than Bluetooth? Simple.

1. Just touch and you’re done
2. There’s so much more that you can do with NFC – the only limits are your imagination!

Commuters in London already use NFC every day with their travel passes (Oyster Cards) without thinking about it, (and New Jersey transport has recently opened up the chance to buy tickets via NFC) and there are now NFC-enabled street advertisements in the UK. So other industries are embracing the technology to enhance your daily life using NFC, and remember, this is all opt-in right now, no directed advertising like Minority Reports. Yet.

So what do you think? Where will NFC take us? Leave us a comment, or share your thoughts @Nokia_Connects

Top pic courtesy of Daily Mobile, second one from CellPhone Quick