What can you do with NFC?

Last updated: 11 April 2014

Take a minute and cast your mind back to science fiction films of the 80s and 90s – Terminator or Demolition Man perhaps. People could use biometrics to gain access to computers, scan others’ minds to see what they were thinking, and so on.

Based on these futuristic predictions, who would have thought, in the early days of the millennium, that it would fall to the humble mobile phone to make them come true? Thanks to technology such as NFC (evolving from RFID and closely aligned with machine-to-machine (M2M) communications), there are an abundance of innovative applications helping us connect with our technology better than ever before.

Barcelona’s hotels will soon be packed full of busy mobile executives and journalists for this year’s Mobile World Congress. Imagine being able to swish through your hotel lobby to enter your hotel room without having to speak to a receptionist or fumble with the hotel door key. BMW developed a hotel key solution using NFC, as reported by Sarah Clark at NFC World, while Nokia partnered with OpenWays and Nordic Choice Hotels to make this a reality. Using your mobile device to register and access your hotel room cuts out a lot of unnecessary stress and time wasted waiting at the reception desk.

When you awake exhausted from the previous day and launch yourself into the next, NFC can help you dressed properly even in a messy hotel room. Called BLACKSOCKS, these socks come with an NFC reader that lets you scan your sock, providing details on whether it’s a left or right foot sock, how many times it has been washed, and with its own ID number so you can match it with its partner. Don’t believe me? Well here’s a handy video from to co-founder Samy Liechti.

If you’re walking around MWC worried about the (far-fetched) notion of hackers taking over your Android phone by merely brushing a tag with an embedded NFC chip against it, just remember, as with all personal interaction, only get close to people you trust.

AirportAs you make your way home, NFC can unlock your car for you and could soon allow travelers to self-boarding and flight information updates. At this year’s MWC we’ll be showing the first commercial service launched by Japan Airlines, in partnership with KDDI, which enables passengers to tap standard NFC phones to pass through boarding gates. Come try the technology at our booth and let us know what you think via #GemaltoMWC.

Once you’re back in the office, NFC can grant you physical access to your secure work area. If you’re visiting a prospect, request temporary access to a restricted area in their building from your phone and then, once permitted, enter using your NFC-equipped handset. A meeting room can be booked on the fly, with all necessary credentials sent to participants before entering the meeting room. Tap your phone to the laptop to authenticate your credentials and login to internet sites without having to remember the required passwords. It’s all possible with NFC.

We’ll be demonstrating this and more in Hall 5 Stand 5G120 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona so pop along and see what NFC can do for you!