Welcome to a Librarian’s Field Guide to Near Field Communication. I’m Sheli McHugh and I’ll be telling you a little about NFC today.
Slide two: My co-presenter, Kristen Yarmey, will be answering your questions via the back channel. You can reply to her directly on twitter @kristenyt. Disclaimer: NFC is still pretty new, there have been a lot of developments in the past several months since we first started researching it, but we have yet to implement any of the technology in our library. Our talk is more of an exploration to see what libraries might be able to do with NFC in the near future.
So, what is NFC? Basically it is a way for two devices to exchange information, wireless, at close range—super close, like 2 inches.
So, how does it work? How does it work? NFC is basically a specific, evolved form of RFID (radio frequency identification). Like RFID, you need two things: an initiator and a target. In this example, my initiator is an NFC-enabled Google Nexus S phone, and my target is an NFC-tagged smart poster.
When I turn my phone’s screen on, the NFC antenna in the phone case puts out a small radio field. When I get close enough to the smart poster, within a few centimeters, the NFC tag in the poster responds to the radio field I’m putting out by modulating it. Now that communication is established, the initiator and target can exchange data.
Just like RFID, the target can be passive. It doesn’t have to have a battery – it essentially powers itself off the initiator’s field. So NFC tags can be small, lightweight, and relatively cheap, like RFID tags. But they can also be rewriteable.
What’s even more fun is that phones can do both at once. When you have two NFC enabled devices, they can interact in a two way, peer-to-peer data exchange.
So that’s great…but the natural question at this point is, what is NFC really bringing to the table? The smart poster stuff sounds like what we already do with QR codes. And we already have Bluetooth and WiFi for exchanging data between devices.
Bluetooth and WiFi are awesome, and they work over much greater distances and at much greater speeds than NFC. BUT, they’re kind of a pain to set up. You have to configure them, which wastes precious seconds of your life. NFC is a much faster connection – you just tap two NFC devices together and go.
This is the Nokia Play360 speaker, sometimes referred to as the first NFC-enabled appliance. Tap it with your NFC-enabled phone, and it starts playing your music. NFC sets up the connection, and then the actual music data transfer happens over Bluetooth. The same idea works for WiFi configurations. Tap your NFC-enabled device to a WiFi router for an instant connection.
This is kind of the beauty of NFC. By itself it’s not all that mind-blowing. But when you combine it with other things – like the computing power of a smartphone, or the speed and distance of a Bluetooth or Wifi connection – it can be a little magical.
So maybe we do need this. Some are calling it a game changer…possibly the biggest thing since the iphone. NFC may bring us from smart phones to SUPER PHONES! How is it actually being used right now?
The biggest area that has adopted the use of NFC is Mobile Payment. You can swipe your phone at the NFC enabled credit card machine or cash register, and pay for your groceries or movie tickets or anything!
Mastercard, Google, and Visa all have (or will soon have) digital wallets that utilize NFC technology to make it easier and faster for you to pay up.
Access and authentication—NFC enabled phones can be programmed to act as your key, great for dorms and offices. You can use NFC to authenticate printers—companies can ensure privacy by using NFC to guarantee who is using their printers and what is being printed.
NFC is also being used in mobile marketing campaigns. Tap the smart tag and visit business website, see reviews, get coupon, download map or directions, get movie trailer, find nearest store location, find out what size/color products come in, get real-time sports scores, subscribe to a service, buy a movie ticket and so on!
Social Media and Gaming are two areas that have also started to adopt NFC to enhance some features. For social media, you’d be able to tap two phones together and instantly become friends on Facebook, update your Foursquare location by tapping an NFC enabled tag, or update your Google+ status by copying NFC enabled text.
NFC can provide gamers with real world easter eggs, tap phone on an NFC tag and get to a new level or get in game rewards. Buy game merchandise with an NFC tag. NFC can turn games into real life experiences. Wii will be using NFC in their new Wii U controller for game interactions and micropayments!
NFC allows users to instantly share information—tap a tag and see where the next bus is. Tap a tag at a museum or art gallery and get more information on the painting, artist or exhibit.
Shortcuts—program NFC tags (Sony’s Xperia tags) and use them as shortcuts for various apps—put one in your car to launch GPS navigation, set up Bluetooth and play your music—use one in the morning to launch the weather app and view your calendar for the day—one on your nightstand to set your alarm clock
Sensors—this would cause me to throw my phone across the room…but maybe it’d be helpful. Sync your phone to your RFID pedometer and Bluetooth scale and receive prompts to exercise or determine how many calories to eat for the day.
OK, great, what does this mean for libraries? First of all, no more library cards. Patrons can use their phones and just tap to check out books. They can use their phones to pay their fines! They can authenticate library computers and printers, so you know they are verified patrons using your services. We can use them to market events with smart posters that allows patrons to get more information and RSVP to the events. We can use NFC to market the library to gamers—come into the library, see local leaderboards, unlock game clues or advance to another level.
We could put NFC tags on books or media so patrons could obtain bibliographic information, access reviews, view author bios, get links to other resources. It can allow our physical collection to link directly to our digital collections.
Truly mobile collection. Bibliotecha created an app—scans your library card then scan the book, and it is checked out to you. The patron becomes their own self-checkout machine.
Thank you for your time—that was very quick…so if you have any questions & we’ll probably run out of time, so feel free to message us @kristenyt or @shelitwits Our slides will be posted to slideshare and you can find our previous presentations there as well! Keep an eye out for an upcoming article and our presentation at PLA!
Handheld Librarian: A Librarian's Guide to Near Field Communication
A Librarian’s Field Guide to
Near Field Communication
What does this mean for us?
• No more library cards
• Mobile payment of library fines
• Authentication for library computers &
• Marketing and event planning with smart
Objects can communicate
• NFC tags on books or media resources
– Bibliographic information
– Author biography
– Link to similar resources
– Social media integration
– Due date for a checked-out book
A truly mobile collection
• Off-the-shelf self-checkout
– Bibliotecha has a prototype app!