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How to use NFC?

NFC is a lot like RFID, only it’s a more up-close-and-personal type of wireless. Whereas RFID can be used from a distance, NFC readers work at a maximum range of about 4 inches (10 centimeters). NFC readers aren’t suitable for RFID-style inventory tracking; their range is too short. So NFC tags will appear in a flood of products and promotional items where bits of digitized information might come in handy.

Unlike RFID versions, NFC readers aren’t always specialized devices. As a matter of fact, NFC chips will be incorporated right into your smartphone’s circuitry. About 30 percent of phones worldwide might have NFC capabilities by 2018. With the widespread reach of NFC phones, NFC tags could one day become as commonplace as bar codes.

For example, a smart tag could be embedded into a political flyer. Tap the tag, and you’re directed to a Web site touting a candidate’s credentials. At the same time, you also instantly receive a snappy biography in the form of a text file and image.

Or, at your favorite restaurants, you can touch your phone to an NFC tagged menu and voila — you have the entire menu on your phone, along with nutritional information and mouth-watering descriptions of the ingredients in your favorite dishes.