This year, a lot of phones are being released with NFC readers built into the devices, and there’s a growing number of NFC apps in Google Play to manage them on Android phones. If your phone is NFC-enabled, you can use your own NFC tags and apps to automate daily tasks.
NFC already pushes your credit and debit cards into your smartphone, yet it can do far more than that. Maybe you’ve bought an NFC-enabled phone and aren’t sure where to start. But once you have NFC tags in hand, there are dozens of ways to use them to make your life a little bit easier, and stop spending so much time in your phone’s Settings menu.
Here are a few ideas on how you can put NFC technology to work for you:
■Set your phone to silent/vibrate at work. Stick a tag by your desk and program it to put your device in silent mode when you tap it. This can be particularly useful to those who are extremely forgetful about these things.
■Save from giving out your Wi-Fi password. If you have guests or clients visiting who want to use your Wi-Fi, you may program a tag to connect to your wireless network, so that your guests can save from typing in your 15-character combination of uppercase/lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
■Sync your stuff. Most media is in the cloud, for example, Dropbox, Google Drive and Rdio. To make sure things get backed up every night, you can have a tag set up by the charging station that regulates Wi-Fi and auto-sync. Another tap to the NFC tag in the morning switches Wi-Fi off, so that battery power is not wasted throughout the day.
■Keyless entry to your home or workplace. Many companies already use pass-cards which employees wave at a sensor to get into their office. These “smart keys” are powered by NFC. As NFC becomes more prevalent, you’ll probably be seeing more and more devices like Lockitron emerging in the marketplace. The device is installed on your deadbolt at home and can be programmed to grant keyless entry to your home or office through an app. Now you can leave your keys at home and just grant/remove access within the app.
■Mobile payment. Instead of pulling out your credit card, you can just tap your NFC-enabled phone to a terminal, much like MasterCard, Visa and Interac are doing with their wave-and-pay systems now. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s something to look forward to.
■Connect to social-media. Several parks or festivals have already allowed guests to log into Facebook, Foursquare, or Google Places by tapping their NFC-enabled phones to a poster or something else. It’s a lot easier than trying to convince them to open an app.
Since NFC is secure, easy to manage and extraordinarily versatile, it will become more popular with time. And now is the perfect time to get ahead of the curve and start wowing your friends.