This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We’ve seen computer and general digital connectivity evolve from the days when one serial cable connected one computer to one printer, to networking via Ethernet cables, to finally losing the cables altogether with Wi-Fi.
At each of those evolutionary steps, it became easier for businesses to operate. New opportunities became available and productivity increased.
As we look at where we are today with digital connectivity, near field communications (NFC) is changing things up in major ways for businesses and consumers.
Although consumers have been carrying NFC technology around in their pockets about as long as they’ve been arming themselves with smartphones, most have been unaware of the technology. This is going to change dramatically over the next several months as merchants are being forced to start taking EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) chip cards.
The October deadline
This new generation of credit cards has a computer chip embedded into it that is NFC enabled. This facilitates the creation of a unique transaction code every time the card is used, which greatly heightens security. In fact, starting in October, the liability rules around credit card transactions change and businesses that haven’t updated their terminals may find themselves in a bad position if they’re hit with fraud.
As consumers see new terminals rolling out at all their familiar places of doing business, they will realize that other electronic payment methods are accepted as well as the new EMV chip cards. Apple Pay, of course, is among these and on the Android side of the smart phone universe, various Samsung phones will be loaded with Samsung Pay.
Samsung Pay has an interesting advantage because it incorporates technology that allows it to be used on the older “magnetic strip only” terminals as well as via the new NFC systems. We know that many business locations are well behind the curve in the process of updating to EMV terminals, so being magnetic-strip capable should prove handy for a lot of consumers.
NFC in the places we go
Payment technology is only one way NFC is changing the way we do business. Hyper-local marketing is another. Retailers are working with a variety of systems that communicate with consumer smart phones as they are browsing stores. This is usually categorized under the umbrella of beacon technology.
Beacons in a retail setting will sense a smartphone nearby and enable marketing campaigns when the smartphone is running a certain app. The shopper can be alerted to an unannounced sale or be presented with additional information about a product. Event organizers are also making good use of this technology. They can communicate important information to attendees, such as directions or schedule updates, and then sell advertising to local restaurants, for example, that is beamed out at the end of the day. At South by Southwest in March 2015, Beacons were all the rage and used during events and networking opportunities.
NFC technology also allows physical locations to map the various paths people use when they pass through their spaces. Retailers can see how well certain displays are performing and tweak aisles and displays to get shoppers where they want them to go.
Beyond the traditional network
NFC is clearly the next step in the evolution of the office environment. With the explosion in the “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement, offices are being filled with all kinds of smart phones and tablets that are NFC enabled. Recognizing this, Samsung is building NFC technology into printers designed for the small business sector.
Not only does the simplicity and versatility of the system increase worker productivity, it gives small business owners added layers of security and cost controls. For example, as a small business owner, you can tell who has been using your printer and how many pages they’ve pumped out – without having to buy any card readers or get people to fill out a log on a clipboard that dangles on a string from the wall next to the printer.
Image Source: Samsung Business