The Convergence of NFC and the Internet of Things

In a little more than five years, more than 26 billion devices will be connected to each other, according to Gartner. Some analysts are projecting that by 2025 there will be 1 trillion (trillion!) networked devices worldwide in the consumer and industrial sectors combined.

Connected cars, smart homes and wearable devices are all changing the way we interact with our virtual and the physical worlds and, hype and hyperbole aside, there is great promise – spanning everything from stick-on sensors that will support better health to microchipped roadways that will ease congestion and save energy. It’s an exciting time for those of us working in and around this space.

IoT image_NFCA decade ago we would not have imagined a time in which our smartphones would connect us to everything and anything, and blend our work and play so seamlessly. But here we are. 700 million new smartphones shipped last year alone, most with the ability to communicate easily via multiple wireless protocols. Manufacturing costs are down, sensors and tags are tiny – and most apps are free. From retail to healthcare, transport to consumer electronics, how we interact with the world around us is changing drastically. At last, the foundation is in place to make the Internet of Things a reality.

For Internet-enabled electronic devices, the Internet of Things is as close as the nearest hotspot. But what about all the objects too small, remote, or unpowered to make an easy Internet connection? How will we bridge the physical and virtual worlds? NFC.

Today there are 500 million NFC-enabled devices in the market, and eventually the majority of things in our environment will have NFC tags on them. The revolutionary impact of NFC technology is huge and most recognize NFC’s role as a key enabler of the Internet of Things.

No doubt developers will continue to play an incredibly important role, tapping into their creativity, they are bringing new and innovative NFC enabled applications to life. Standards are evolving fast and our community – those of us working together on standards, specifications and protocols – is committed to ensuring that all the pieces work together effectively.

Thanks to these collective efforts, combined with big reductions in manufacturing and chip related costs, we will continue to see major changes in the way we go about our daily lives. We’ll all benefit from greater efficiencies and access to data that will help us streamline our to-dos, and ultimately save time and money. Your barista will start making your latte as you arrive. Your washing machine will be remote controlled. Your rental car will automatically adjust to your seating and music preferences. Your smart home will adjust to your presence, cutting energy costs.

Bottom line, and thanks to NFC, relevant, contextual information about anything and everything is soon just a tap away.

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