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Companies Say Goodbye to QR Codes with Near Field Communication (NFC)

In recent reports from the Wall Street Journal, Google has boldly decided to remove QR Codes from Google Places and instead incorporate NFC-enabled chips into their OS. The technology juggernaut has also shown its commitment to bolstering the use of NFC technology by upgrading its membership to the NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that promotes the contactless data transfer technology, and by reportedly paying for the installation of NFC-terminals across New York and San Francisco. As a leader in the technology space, Google’s support is expected to herald in an exponentially growing market.  With additional speculation and statements reporting plans for these mobile planning systems from Sprint, Samsung, Amazon and several other companies, NFC has undoubtedly been brought to the forefront of today’s mobile technology news.

A little about NFC


NFC can be used for payments and ticketing, live responses, and file/data transfers. NFC is a short-range wirelesstechnology that enables data exchanges from a distance of four centimeters or less. It functions similar to Bluetooth technologies, but without the complicated configuration process. This allows NFC targets to take on very simple forms such as stickers, business cards, credit cards, keys, toys, technology hardware and various products. When compared to QR codes, rather than requiring users to scan an image to then be redirected to a website or action, NFC leaves the logistics to the backend, providing an even more interactive experience for the user.

Why is it the next big thing?

Jupiter Research estimates worldwide payments from mobile phones could reach $22 billion by 2011. With so many large consumer retailers adopting NFC technologies, our cell phones could soon replace our wallets. According to the New York Times, the iPhone 5 is expected to have NFC built into the device, and marketing wisdom tells us that having consumers download and/or opt-in to tools is a major barrier for adoption.

Today, some consumers in Austria and Germany use NFC technology to make contactless payments. Trials being conducted in New York, London, Singapore and the Netherlands are likely to turn into deployments later this year. Overall, the global response to NFC technology far surpasses that of QR codes, and most other platforms that we’ve seen over the past few years. With this in the backdrop, NFCs are well-poised to make an significant impact on the market.

What your business should consider?

Begin by creating a roadmap for how your company can benefit from NFC. As your business looks to upgrade its technology offerings, consider how NFC can be incorporated in your customer service offerings. I suggest you begin by getting cost estimates on adding this technology to your POS, products, marketing material, and reassess and reallocate your budget so as this technology becomes mainstream, you are prepared and ready to engage.

Vibrant optimism and corporate engagement is surrounding NFC, and you can increase your market share and competitive edge with this technology. Use NFCs as an opportunity for today, not as a way for your company to catch up tomorrow. 


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  1. Andy

    May 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    And I was just starting to talk my company into using QR codes… should I give up on that idea?

    • Freeman LaFleur

      May 13, 2011 at 4:20 am

      No, not at all! Contrary to the misleading title of this article, QR code adoption is still going to grow at an enormous rate through out the next few years. Yes, NFC is an exciting technology but what small to medium sized business is going to have the budget to embed NFC chips into their business cards, resumes, real estate signs, flyers, etc…Why do we have to choose NFC or QR when both can exist in harmony?

      • Nick Damoulakis

        May 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm

         Not sure if the title is misleading… Google completely stopped the use of QR Codes and took it out of Google Places.

    • Nick Damoulakis

      May 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

      Don’t give up on QR codes they still have a place, and will for a few more years… Just be aware of NFC and start budgeting and thinking about how you can use them in the future. As of right now only a few phones can even use NFC. We still use QR Codes here for business cards, posters and even inventory.

  2. Pingback: The mighty QR code and its new rival: NFC « The Rational Communicator |

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