QR Codes vs. Near-Field Communication

29/04/2013

Near-field communication is a wireless technology that allows you to access Web sites, transmit data, download files, make mobile payments, and many other tasks with just a tap of your smartphone. The use of NFC in marketing has been booming these past few months, with a lot of out-of-home campaigns now using the technology as a way to give more information to their customers.

If that sounds awfully familiar, it is because QR codes do the same things that NFC does. Their functions are very similar that people have been pitting the two technologies against each other.

Proponents of NFC say that NFC technology is much faster, more secure and more invisible. You can create a smart tag and put it on your poster and customers will be able to see the information that you intended to share just by tapping their phones. No more downloading special software, no more failed scans, and no more trying to get a better shot or capture. Additionally, NFC does not suffer from what is called as the QR code fatigue, where people do not scan QR codes simply because they had a less-than-optimal experience with it before. Or they simply did not know what it was.

Fans of QR codes, on the other hand, say that NFC has a long way to go. Taking into consideration that QR codes took years before finally taking off in the United States, NFC would have to go through a similar waiting period as well. What’s more, not all smartphones have NFC capability. Even the latest models may not come with an NFC chip. Most notably, Apple has been snubbing NFC for the longest time. NFC also has security issues and may not be as safe as they are meant to be.

We at AzonMobile have been asked whether we were in Team NFC or Team QR codes. If you take a look at our services, you would probably think that we are all for QR codes. But the truth is, we are for both.

NFC and QR codes are great technologies that can be used together. This way, you can overcome the limitations of each and make use of both their benefits. For example, customers who do not have an NFC-enabled phone can still scan your QR code, while those who are itching to see their NFC-enabled phones in action will be able to tap their phones to your smart tags.

What’s more, by using both NFC and QR codes in your marketing, you are giving your customers more options on how to get more information about you. And to us, options are always a good thing compared with limiting their choices.