NFC 101: Programmable Tags for Your Smartphones

By: Rich DeMuro
Feb. 4, 2013

You’ve probably used WiFi and Bluetooth but, there’s a neat feature inside many smartphones you might not even know about.

It’s called Near Field Communication (NFC) and it can help you ditch your wallet or just share a picture with a friend.

“NFC stands for near field communication, said Eric Wrye, founder of Andy Tags, a company that sells specialized stickers with NFC built in. “Simply put, it [is] a technology that was developed to allow two devices to communicate over really short areas using very low power.”

Imagine if you could just tap your phone to change settings, transfer a picture, or pay for coffee.

Wrye has several NFC tags setup at home for everyday activities. Before going to bed his phone knows to go to silent and turn on his alarm just by communicating with a pre-programed NFC sticker. In the mornings, Wrye walks out the door greeted by his phone.

“Good morning Eric, I’ve returned your settings to normal and loaded your e-mail for you. Have a great day,” his phone alerts.

“It’s about simplifying routine tasks that normally take up a lot of time,” said Wrye.

Each one of the NFC stickers contains a tiny microchip that holds instructions for your phone.

Users can program them with a free app. Then, with a tap, the NFC tags can adjust settings or open apps.

Tap two NFC phones together and swap playlists, pictures and more. NFC can even turn your phone into a virtual wallet in participating major retailers like CVS, Toys R Us and Jamba Juice. Just remember to tap to pay at the register.

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