Near Field Communications or NFC for short is a technological application of RFID readers and tags embedded both in cellphones or handheld devices as well as other objects in the environment.
The range on these devices is quite short, however the technology is meant to facilitate automated information sharing between the device and the tagged object in the environment.
Most of the applications for NFC have to date been targetted at the consumer for gathering information from signs etc. and for use of the cellphone for automated payments. An organization has already been formed to begin establishing and rolling out standards for these types of communications called the NFC Forum and they’ve already issued 5 specifications for the use of NFC, these are:
– NFC Smart Poster Record Type Definition (RTD) Technical Specification
– NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) Technical Specification
– NFC Record Type Definition (RTD) Technical Specification
– NFC Text RTD Technical Specification
– NFC URI RTD Technical Specification
As mentioned, most work to date has been focussed on consumers, however it’s easy to see some application opportunities in logistics and supply chain management applications in both warehouse operations as well as in freight and transportation.
Click on the video below to see the technology in action at Phillips Arena in Atlanta and get a feel for how it works.
There are already a number of NFC RFID enabled ruggedized handheld available that could be utilized to implement NFC in your operations. Some of these include the Intermec CN3 and the Motorola/Symbol MC 70 just to name a couple.
Near Field Communications could be used to verify place and location to eliminate errors in picking, putaway etc. by verifying that equipment and operators are at the right place before completing the required activity.