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(ARA) – Smartphones are about to become much smarter. Imagine a world where completing transactions, exchanging digital content, connecting electronic devices and accessing buildings and venues can all be done with a simple wave or tap of your smartphone.

With Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, this is exactly where we are headed. NFC technology is a standards-based, short-range (a few centimeters) wireless connectivity technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions between electronic devices. One in five smartphones will have NFC by 2014, Juniper Research reports. With this technology rapidly gaining traction and momentum in smartphones, here are some ways NFC can be used during a typical work day:

  • Purchase your morning cup of coffee with a tap of your smartphone: Mobile commerce is certainly the most broadly covered and highly anticipated use of NFC. With this technology, you can make credit card purchases with the necessary information securely stored on your phone. Simply wave or tap your smartphone across a special contactless reader in a store. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Curve 9360 are the first SIM-based NFC smartphones to be certified by MasterCard as PayPass-approved devices.
  • Head through the turnstile at your train stop: NFC can be integrated with public transit payment systems. With this capability, people can touch their smartphones to an NFC post or terminal when boarding trains or buses. PayPass has been tested in select New York City subway stations, where commuters could tap their debit card on a specially equipped reader. With NFC enabled smartphones, however, a card is no longer necessary.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

  • Enter your office building: Instead of using a key, keypad PIN, or even ID cards, just hold your smartphone up to a lock to open it. Whether at your home, dorm or workplace, the possibilities are endless. HID Global, a leading manufacturer of secure identity solutions and contactless smart card technology, recently announced a partnership with BlackBerry to support this technology on the newest smartphones, setting this concept in motion and making it more of a reality than ever before.
  • Share documents with your colleagues: NFC technology has the potential to allow smartphone users to share information with others. An example of this is BlackBerry Tag, which will allow BlackBerry users to share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other files by tapping one handset against another.
  • As NFC enabled smartphones proliferate over the coming years, we very well could see consumers completing daily tasks strictly through their smartphone – replacing wallets, keys, train tickets and more. With critical information stored on your smartphone, security is vitally important. The key here is to choose a smartphone that is known for having a secure platform. This will provide you with the peace of mind to use your NFC enabled smartphone to its full capabilities.

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    Author: Andy Quayle

    Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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