It’s a familiar scenario: friends, acquaintances or new business partners meet in person, and want to exchange information to stay in touch. For years we’ve been doing this the traditional way: you tell the other person your phone number and email address, and they key it into their phone’s contact list. Or maybe you email that person your information. It’s a bit inelegant, but one way or another information gets from point A to point B.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, available on many smartphones, does away with the tedious task of manually exchanging information. Now, by tapping two NFC-enabled smartphones together, you can exchange just about any digital data with anyone.
NFC-enabled Verizon phones
Many new Verizon smartphones are equipped to use “Android™ Beam,” which is the NFC app built into the latest Android operating systems. Beam allows you to use NFC to exchange data not only with Android devices but also with devices running other operating systems.
Easy file transfer
Information stored on your phone—including photos, videos, documents, music, and personal contact information—can also be transferred easily using apps such as FileBeam, which use NFC. “Live” data, such as YouTube videos you’re watching or web pages you’re viewing, can also be shared using Android’s Beam capabilities, as demonstrated in this brief CNET video.
NFC enables you to automatically connect your phone to NFC-enabled Bluetooth speakers, so that you can play music from your phone simply by tapping your phone to it. You can also tap and connect your NFC-capable smartphone to a powerful hub that plugs into your home audio system.
Using NFC tags
Many people are likely to find user-programmable plastic or paper NFC tags to be NFC’s most useful application. The tags can contain either information (such as your business card info) or instructions to perform actions (launching apps, changing your ringtone, setting alarms, turning GPS on or off, etc.) and even action sequences. When you tap your phone against one of the tags, the actions are carried out on your phone.
The tags are small, inexpensive, and can be carried on your keychain. One convenient use for an information-only tag is storing the access information for your home or business Wi-Fi network, to make it easy for others to join. Stick the tag on a wall or some other convenient spot, and a visitor with an app like WifiTap can touch the tag with their NFC-enabled phone and automatically connect to your network.
In short, NFC can be used right out of the box with Beam. It can also, with just a bit more effort, save you lots of time and energy by automating repetitive tasks.