Qfuse Blog - QR Code, NFC, and Mobile Marketing News

Near Field Communications Technology – Connecting Everything Around Us

Posted on May 16th, 2018 by

Near field communications technology (NFC) is short-range wireless connectivity technology. Its in nearly every smartphone today and makes it easy and convenient to conduct transactions, exchange content, and link electronic devices. NFC enables technology in close proximity to communicate without the need for an internet connection. The technology is currently used in applications like Android Pay and Apple Pay, and has been adopted in some cities for transit use – just tap your transit card to a reader and go. Note that while NFC isn’t yet integrated into iPhone in a way that will work seamlessly for most users (outside of  this Apple Pay functionality), we impatiently await until it’s built right in (much like with Android devices).

In the future, it is possible that NFC use might replace the cards – credit and loyalty cards alike – in our wallets. Despite the success of NFC so far, there are still other applications of the technology.

For example, passive NFC “tags” are being put into posters and information kiosks to provide people more information, similar to how QR codes provide information by opening a website on the scanner’s phone. Google’s Daydream View VR headset uses the technology. Placing your smartphone into the headset triggers nearby tags to automatically download or launch the app.

An interesting possibility for NFC is the potential to revitalize brick-and-mortar retail stores. According to NextWeb, 90 percent of smartphone owners use their devices while in stores. “[B]rick-and-mortar stores are increasingly experimenting with omnichannel strategies that connect the dots between digital and physical experiences. They’re trying to meet consumers where they’re at, on their smartphones or on-the-go. And brands are increasingly coming up with creative ways to design memorable experiences to attract demographics like millennials within brick-and-mortar spaces.” Retail store, grocery stores, sporting goods stores – any store carrying consumer goods can see those goods become “smart” with the help of NFC tags.

Now, if you’re like us, you may have thought about security, especially because NFC occurs in the open air without the need of a protected internet connection. It might be of some comfort to consider that NFC chips can only be skimmed if someone puts a device within centimeters of your smartphone. However, apps like Apple Pay and Android Pay have developed security features to protect your information.

As TechRadar points out, “[t]he list of compatible devices is staggering and growing with time. It’s safe to say, if you’ve purchased a smartphone [or tablet] in the last few years, you should be ready to go.”

For more on NFC tags, click HERE or check out the sites below and do not hesitate to contact the team at QFuse with any questions, comments, or concerns!


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NFC Usage Statistics & Qfuse Functionality

Posted on September 24th, 2014 by

NFC Usage Statistics

It is hard to say the actual usage of U.S. phones with NFC enabled. Most devices these days have NFC capability, but the one big exception has been iPhone, which as most people know has huge market-share. A significant development has been that the latest iPhone 6 does have NFC, but it appears to be locked down only for the Apply Pay feature at this time. Still, many speculate that this is a positive indication for future growth of NFC. If you search around the web, you can find many articles speculating on NFC growth, for example: http://www.cnet.com/news/nfc-enabled-cell-phones-to-hit-416-million-shipments-report/.

Because NFC is still an emerging technology for many/most users (even those who have it and may not be aware of it) it’s typically a best practice to also include a QR code and/or a short-URL (Qfuse also generates short-URLs) in order to provide an alternate method of engagement for non-NFC users. But it really depends on your use-case and target audience/device.

Qfuse URL Structure & Default Functionality

By default our Qfuse platform’s mobile site URLs are formatted as qfuse.com/site-name. However, with an Enterprise account we have the capability to also have sites resolve to a custom URL of our clients’ choosing; so it would be your-url.com/site-name. This way our clients can can provide their customers the direct URL (or link to the URL) and it would show on their custom domain.

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Making Mall Kiosks Interactive

Posted on November 3rd, 2013 by

eyecorpmediaMy friend was walking through the mall the other day when he stumbled upon this large advertisement (right) near the mall entrance.  It peaked his interest so he scanned the code and took some pictures.

The advertisement was done by Eye Corp Media (eyecorpmedia.com), one of the largest international out of home advertising networks, and was set right at the main entrance so that it is visible to everyone coming in and out of the mall.

The advertisement is interesting because it really doesn’t advertise anything, instead all it is attempting to achieve is for customers to take out their phones and engage with the advert.  So despite not actually advertising anything what they have created is a fully interactive kiosk that has been made so by implementing QR codes and NFC tags, and really what they are selling here is the actual interaction.

Making advertisements and marketing materials engaging and interactive in this way can go a long way to improving the quality, substance and effectiveness of similar types of media.

eyecorpmedia2Now the thing my friend also noticed upon scanning is that the content wasn’t spectacular.  Though the content did vary depending on your sex and age—which is a cool feature—it did not offer anything terribly interesting.  What you received was either a joke (a quite lame one at that), or some random fact.  So nothing that would keep a customer’s attention for more than a few seconds.

I suspect though that this was being done more as a test run, since after you received your joke or fact you were asked what would you have rather seen, and are given a list of different types of content  For example, videos or special offers in the mall.  In this way Eye Corp Media is probably able to use the example advertisement as a way to generate beneficial market data that could be used for future adverts.

All in all this was a very good example of the potential for making things like mall kiosks interactive, and more useful using technologies like QR codes and NFC.  Just make sure if you attempt to do the same sort of thing you are using a QR code/NFC platform that will help ensure a successful campaign by giving you every tool you could possible need.

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The Economic Benefit of NFC technology

Posted on September 30th, 2013 by

NFCThis will be by no means a completely extensive look at the possible economic effects of NFC technology, but it will hopefully point out some of the wide ranging benefits that NFC adoption might create.

Looking only at a made up retail store, and assuming a point of user critical mass so that almost everyone in society has access to smartphones with NFC enabled technology, let us see just what NFC technology can mean for businesses and consumers alike.

There are many potential ways a retail establishment might use NFC technology, for example a grocery store might let you scan each item with your phone as you shop and let you check out without waiting in line, instead paying for your bill on your phone as soon as you are ready to leave.

So what would this technology mean for the economy, that is what would it mean for businesses and consumers?

Let us take this one example of a grocery store.  If consumers could simply tap the tag on each good as they place it in their cart and then pay for the contents on their phone when they are ready to leave without having to ever stand in line this would have great benefits for business and consumers alike.  What this would mean is that the grocery store no longer needs to hire an army of checkout employees, thus decreasing a big chunk of overhead.  If you have 20 employees working 12 hours a day making $10 an hour, that is $2000/ day just for the checkout people.  Then multiply that by 356 days a year and you get a total of $712,000 per year, all of which could be saved from adopting NFC technology.  But this also doesn’t take into account the full cost of employment and ignores things like the half of payroll taxes the store would need to pay, workers comp, over-time, insurance, and whatever other benefits that might be offered.  So the full cost of savings would be even more than this potentially.

The business owner, now having reduced his overhead by a significant margin, now has various options of what to do with this savings.  One option is he might lower the prices of the goods in his store, and hopefully increase his traffic.  This in turn would mean savings for the consumers, and the consumers would then spend their savings on other goods and services in the economy inducing economic growth.  A second option might be that the owner directs some or all of this overhead savings into hiring new employees in the stock room, or produce section to ensure better customer service, or perhaps he would divert some, or all of the savings into expanding the store, offering new products, or improving the customer experience in some other way, all of which would lead to either a better shopping experience or future growth.  Lastly, the business owner might simply take the new savings for himself, and even here still the economy benefits as he must either spend his new income, perhaps on a new house (hiring many workers), investing the money directly or indirectly into some other company giving said company new capital to grow their own particular business, or simply saving the money in his local bank thus creating an influx of new cash reserves that can be lent out to other businesses or individuals for their own benefit.  So no matter what is done with the new savings, the economy improves.

In addition to the economic benefits here, the consumer would benefit as well through saved time and hassle for sure, seeing that check out is much easier.  But in addition to this, depending on what the business owner does with his freed up overhead, they might benefit from lower prices, better customer service, or a greater variety of products offered.

Another more obscure benefit might be seen from the fact that in such a situation the grocery store would no longer need to waste space in the front of the store for checkout counters.  This could have various consequences.  For example the store might simply use that additional space for greater product offering, or perhaps they might use that space to rent out to other retail stores like a bank or coffee shop as you see in some grocery stores already today.  An even more indirect benefit for newly created grocery stores would be a decrease in the size of the building needed, thus decreasing building costs, overhead expenses from lower property taxes, mortgage, energy consumption etc.; less land being used so potentially better for the environment, or it might free up other space for another business.  The economic benefits are potentially very significant.

This is the potential power of NFC.  A simple technology that can save the consumer time, money, and improve their shopping experience, all the while increasing the profits for the business is certainly something to get excited about.  Why more businesses and more specifically retail establishments, haven’t yet adopted this technology in such a substantial way is beyond me, but the first bunch that do will be sure to experience a lovely windfall.

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5 Reasons You Should Use NFC

Posted on September 6th, 2013 by

Transportation paymentsThere are a handful of technologies on the market today trying to get noticed and adopted in a mainstream way, some like QR codes have been able to do this, but others have not or their future remain unsure.  For those still considering whether or not to use NFC technology for your marketing campaign, your payment systems, or whatever, below are five reasons why you should choose NFC.

Instinctive: NFC requires almost no thought or effort on the part of the user unlike some other similar technologies like QR codes (which require the downloading of an app, the opening of the app and the scanning of a bar code).  All the user needs to do is tap or wave their smartphone near the NFC tag and the transaction occurs.  It is as simple as that.  The easier it is for the user the more likely the technology will be used, and it doesn’t get easier than NFC.

Multipurpose: NFC can serve an incredible number of purposes and can be useful for almost any industry, or any need.  For example, a company like Starbucks might, and indeed has in the past, used NFC as a system of payment.  Another company might use the technology as a way to advertise on physical marketing material.  Another company might use it as a way to provide additional value to their product, like a Museum using it to create an interactive experience with visitors.  There are thousands, if not millions of ways NFC can be used, just figure out what is best for your company or organization and start using the technology for great results.

Secure: The fact that NFC transmissions are such short range, varying anywhere from contact to a few centimeters ensures that the transaction will be private and secure.  The technology also has built in capabilities to improve security if needed.

Interoperable: This NFC technology is compatible with the many existing contactless card technologies that are already on the market, making adaption seamless in most cases.

Nearing Critical Mass:  NFC is already a well known technology and the infrastructure already exists.  Most smartphones already have NFC capabilities built in and the few that don’t plan on seeing their next generation phones become NFC compatible.  The momentum is towards NFC and it doesn’t look to be slowing down.  People are already familiar with the technology and as even more businesses and organization are beginning to use NFC the critical mass needed for full market adoption will not be far off.

If you are looking for a great place to start designing, implementing and managing your NFC campaign, be sure to check out our platform here.

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