What IT needs to know about near-field communications

Near-field communications is coming. Here are the pros and cons of deploying NFC in the enterprise.

The rise of near-field communications (NFC) has been part of the discussion in the mobile industry for years. Unfortunately, the technology hasn't generated much more than discussion to this point.

So far, all who have predicted the ubiquity of the point-to-point communications technology have been wrong. Executives at major tech companies - Apple and eBay, for example - have scoffed at the idea of NFC as an everyday tool, and consumers in general still have no idea what it is.

Regardless, the technology provides ample opportunity for businesses, and is still expected to make a slow climb to relevance over the next few years. With separate factors helping to drive growth of the technology into new markets, it's time to consider how NFC can help in the enterprise.

What is it?

At its most basic, near-field communication is a set of standards that dictate how devices communicate with each other or with NFC "tags," which are essentially labels that can read and transmit information to and from an NFC-enabled device.

The aim of NFC standards is to establish a reliable, secure method by which devices can record and send information with minimal user input.

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