The use of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology is heating up with the popularity of mobile payments and other applications, which begs the question, “What else could I do with NFC-enabled phones?” After attending many NFC and RFID conferences this year, I can certainly say that there are a lot of cool new use cases for NFC that are helping businesses and other organizations tackle the complexities of workflows and securing sensitive transactions. And, with Internet of Things (IoT) quickly becoming top-of-mind for organizations, solutions that secure NFC applications are at the heart of making this a reality.
One set of use cases could be broadly categorized as “proof of presence.” Proof of presence refers to the ability to verify that an individual is where they say they are. This is made possible by using unclonable NFC tags with a cloud authentication service to digitally prove the presence of someone in order to improve auditing and prevent fraud in the growing service economy. Some examples include:
- Electronic Visit Verification (EVV)
With rampant fraud in the home healthcare space, government mandates and private payers are requiring the implementation of EVV. Using an NFC-based EVV solution, secure NFC tags are placed in patients homes for verification and proof of presence. The caregiver taps on the tag at the beginning and end of their visit to prove they were physically present and to document the visit for accurate billing. Check out our white paper for more information.
- Security Guard Tours
Leveraging an NFC mobile phone a guard is already carrying, secure NFC tags are placed throughout buildings and campuses for the guards to tap with their phone. This digitally documents each location as he or she makes their rounds. All of the data is centralized via a cloud-based system for reporting and analysis to help keep the building secure.
- Time and Attendance
Utilizing a mobile phone/ tablet or USB reader on a PC, cloud-based time and attendance systems can be quickly set up anywhere to validate someone’s presence with the tap of their badge.
Asset management is another area NFC is being used. Tagging assets with a variety of unique NFC form factors makes it possible to digitally and automatically track users checking in and out assets, such as sporting equipment, bike rentals, keys for realtors, and other borrowed items.
The final area where NFC is seeing some popularity is in consumer interactions. With hundreds of millions of NFC phones in the hands of consumers, mobile phones provide a secure and convenient way for brands to interact with their customers. For example, manufacturers are adding secure NFC tags to items, ranging from alcohol to pharmaceuticals, to ensure authenticity against clones for brand protection. Companies also use NFC tags to protect supply chain diversion (grey market) and warranty fraud.
Digital marketing is another example of using NFC tags for consumer engagement. The use of standard NFC stickers has been growing in popularity in outdoor ads at bus stops and inside retail locations. Now, those ads are used for more than just raw information. Brands are using secure NFC tags to incorporate interactive campaigns like sweepstakes contests and customer loyalty reward programs. Implementing NFC technology into marketing programs, marketers can react in real time to campaign success or adjust efforts based on measurable data.
With all of these new applications hitting the market, I expect 2016 will be a busy year for Internet of Things applications and NFC, where there will be wider adoption across different markets and continued technology innovation in the industry. Stay tuned as HID Global continues to work with our partners to develop new and existing use cases.