NFC vs. Bluetooth LE: When to use which

Near-field communications and Bluetooth LE are low-power wireless technologies suited for different uses in enterprises.

A distributed network of wireless connections spans a cityscape.
Metamorworks / Getty Images

Among many options for low-power, relatively short-ranged connectivity, two technologies stand out – near-field communication and Bluetooth low energy. Both have relatively low deployment costs and are simple to use.

NFC is best known for being the technology behind many modern smart cards. NFC chips need to be very close – within a few centimeters – to a reader for a connection to be made, but that’s an upside in its primary enterprise use case, which is security and access control.

Bluetooth LE is a low-power derivative of the main Bluetooth standard, offsetting lower potential throughput with substantially reduced energy consumption and the consequent ability to fit into a wider range of potential use cases.

Next, we’ll delve into more in-depth descriptions of each technology and their primary use cases.

NFC features

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