First let’s sort out all of these letters. NFC is the abbreviated version of Near Field Communication. RFID is the much shorter way to use the term radio frequency identification. Now that we know what the letters stand for we will try to figure out what the words mean. Just what is the technology that is included in NFC RFID?

Near field communication allows a wireless device to collect and transfer data to another wireless device. The two devices need to be in the immediate vicinity of one another for the collection to take place. There is no programming required to get the two specific devices to interact (think Bluetooth technology). The NFC enabled devices need only to touch one another for data transfers to occur.

One of the most popular uses for Near Field Communication is wireless payment. It is possible to walk into a store and touch your enabled phone to an also enabled credit card reader and your purchase is completed without the need to take your wallet from your pocket. It is like carrying a virtual wallet all the time.

RFID or radio frequency identification was around before the advent of NFC and can be considered a precursor to that technology. RFID technology uses radio frequencies to send signals from a tag to a reader. Some reader are stationary and will read whatever RFID tags pass by them and others are mobile, like hand held devices and even vehicles.

RFID technology was originally used to track merchandise and although it still performs that task it can do much more. RFID can be used by putting a tag in a bracelet worn by an Alzheimer’s patient. If that patient wanders away from the safe zone an RFID scanner will alert the caretaker. It can be used to track your luggage so it doesn’t get lost by the airline.

NFC and RFID technologies are both being used as the technological aspects of the world we live in expand. We are always looking for better and easier ways to achieve goals and wireless technology allows us to do that while saving time and often money. Unlike the QR code technology that is so popular now NFC and RFID do have some cost associated with them. They do, however, perform different tasks and the cost can be explained.