Near Field Communications(NFC) Vs PASSBOOK

Apple was expected to launch iPhone 5 with NFC technology along with iOS-6 in the Fall 2012. Apple stands unique all the way through its innovations and “Think Different” attitude. Hence, apple came with new solution named as “Passbook”. Even though, NFC and Passbook are different, both are similar in various aspects. Before heading into the NFC v/s Passbook, I would like to narrate basic information about both technologies.

NFC stands for Near Field Communications, which is the technology to identify the nearby devices and to establish the communication channel between them for further data transfer. Currently Android as well as Windows mobile OS has given support to NFC. NFC works on the principle of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)-Tag Detection that is used to identify the objects. Unlike Bluetooth, NFC removes all the hassles of Activating, Scanning and Pairing of devices and provides efficient as well as lightening fast way to transfer data.

Current use of NFC in smart phones:
  • Instant Data Transfer
  • Listen up music wirelessly
  • Mobile Payment
  • Configure Bus-Metro-Train-Tram Passes with NFC

Expected Advance use of NFC:
  • Open Car Door
  • Open Garage
  • Publish any custom service
  • A….a….a….a and Possibilities are endless

Though, NFC is booming all the way and people out there are excited to see more advancement and solutions depending on NFC, we should also keep in mind that NFC is not matured enough to serve all the way. Still some security issues are present there and that can be the main reason why apple has dropped the idea to integrate NFC technology with iPhone 5 & iOS-6.

Passbook is considered as an alternative to NFC for iOS users. Unlike NFC, passbook is completely software-based application and doesn’t require your device to be equipped with any extra hardware. So it provides backward compatibility and run as iPhone application on any device running iOS-6.

Passbook provides an efficient way to access digital coupon as well as tickets based on time and location of the user. An alert is shown to the user when he is near Starbucks store or at the departure gate on the airport if he has related coupons or ticket. Initially companies like Starbucks, Target, McDonald’s had started using passbook to provide coupons, renew card, & tickets. Furthermore, many more companies are enabled to use Passbook now a day through many sites. Critics didn’t see Passbook as a prominent factor to crack the market in early stages of its introduction, but according to Forbes report passbook is hitting the US market like anything.

Passbooks works at several places as followed:
  • Grocery Stores
  • Home Appliances Stores
  • Fashion Stores
  • Airlines
  • Coffee houses
  • Movie, Theater, Event and many more

However, passbook don’t permits the lightening fast data transfer, it couldn’t become a barrier for its success. Apple is probably working for better version of Passbook and we can expect some advancement into WWDC-2013.

Furthermore, we should not forget that Apple has recently filled patent for Ad-Hoc ATM (Virtual Mobile ATM), which enables user to ask / land money in emergency situation or some specific situation. The concept itself seems very much promising. We will have to sit back and wait for update from Apple whether they are integrating AdHoc-ATM concept with existing passbook application or provide brand new solution with new dimension.


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