Heard about #EventProfs using NFC for events and want to know more? Earlier this year, Noodle Live released the first ever NFC-enabled event app (pretty proud of ourselves actually), so we’re pretty pumped about the possibilities the tech offers to event organisers and delegates. But we also understand that NFC is the new kid on the block. So what do you need to know?
What is NFC?
NFC stands for near field communication, which probably leaves you none the wiser as to what it actually is.
What might surprise you is that even if you don’t know what NFC is, the chances are, you’re probably already using it. NFC powers Apple Pay from your iPhone and Google Pay from your android phone.
NFC chips are small microchips that can send and receive data (such as name, contact details or bank balance) when they are held close to a dedicated NFC reader. So when you hold your phone next to an NFC reader it will gather details about how much money you owe, check your credit status and then charge your bank account. The information is all sent from the phone to the reader when the chip is simply held close to the device. There is no need to plug anything in or make direct contact.
Is it similar to RFID for events?
Yep! Lots of people find it difficult to tell the difference between NFC and RFID and the truth is, they’re pretty darn similar, with one subtle difference. RFID tech powers pet microchips, your Oyster card and your passport. RFID chips store information on what is essentially a tiny computer chip. When you hold the chip close to a dedicated reader, it reads that information.
The difference from NFC? RFID only uses one way communication, whereas NFC can send and receive data.
Why is NFC relevant to my event?
Late last year, Apple finally made an important update to the iPhone, which essentially meant that app developers (like us) can access NFC and incorporate it in our event apps. Android has offered this functionality for a while, but now that Apple had joined in, it means all of your delegates are able to get involved. Delegates can now use their phone or tablet to simply tap and interact with various touch points.
The most exciting thing about that? Well, it basically means that instead of investing your event budget in buying card readers and then arming your guests with RFID name badges that they can tap on the readers, the process is reversed. So delegates bring their own card readers (their phones) and all you have to do is embed a few tiny microchips at touch points around your event environment. For example, delegates could register for seminars and sessions, exchange contact details with exhibitors or access automatic information points, all by swiping their phone on a simple NFC poster.
How do you suggest using NFC for events?
An NFC enabled event app offers all of the same functionality as any other event app (profile lists, audience response, feedback and surveys, news feed, personalised schedules, instant messaging, push notifications, content sharing and more) but with the added ability to swap contact details, check in for sessions, register for the event, collect content or even check your coats in (in fact, all of the features offered by our RFID name badges).
The best part about NFC event apps is that they offer all of the benefits of an event app and an RFID name badge combined – and at a much lower cost thanks to the fact that you don’t need to invest in hiring tablets. Instead, delegates bring their own device.
What makes NFC so cool?
NFC can make your event environment interactive, allowing delegates to use their phones to interact with the physical environment and enriching the overall event experience.
Can you run that past me one more time?
Yep! It can all be a bit complex to digest. Take a look at our quick video guide to using NFC event for events: