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Near-Field Communication and QR Codes… FIGHT!

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Whenever near-field communication technology hits the headlines, it is always being compared to QR codes. This was the case when Google replaced QR codes with NFC patches for its Google Places, and also when Google announced that it was going to use NFC for its Wallet service. Recently, Nokia announced that they were more bent on using NFC for their NFC hub, and QR codes were mentioned in numerous reports as being on the way out.

But is NFC technology actually better than QR codes, or is it the other way around?

When it comes to features, it seems that NFC can win the battle. Both NFC and QR codes can easily bridge the online and offline world and could take users to different websites, videos and other content. Both are very flexible and could be used for a lot of applications. But unlike QR codes, NFC has fewer chances to fail. You can still use NFC even if you have shaky hands just as long as you hold you device up at less than 2 centimeters from the receiver. You just wave or tap, and you get an effortless way to connect. QR codes could fail if you do not have the right reader, or you do not get a steady shot.

ROUND 1: NFC wins!

NFC’s strong point is mobile payments. This early, NFC is being touted as the best contactless payment platform. Customers only need to wave their NFC-enable phones and devices and they can easily pay for their groceries, food, gasoline and other purchases. While mobile payments are also possible via QR codes, it is more of bridge to a third-party site. For instance, a customer can scan a QR code and pay through PayPal. It is more cumbersome for people to pay with a QR code

ROUND 2: NFC wins!

With two wins, then near-field communication might be the champion in this wireless technology boxing match. But are QR codes really that inferior? Stay tuned tomorrow for the story on the other side of the coin.

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6 Responses to Near-Field Communication and QR Codes… FIGHT!

  1. Karen Morison May 17, 2012, 5:12 pm

    I don’t agree with Round 1 for NFC. My hands seem like they’re moving a lot while I try to line up a QR code with my reader and it never seems to be a problem! I’d call it a draw on that one!

    Great article series!

  2. denny snyderman May 18, 2012, 7:14 pm

    Can I add NFC to my current cell phone? Might there be an either or option?

    • admin May 21, 2012, 6:48 am

      Yes you actually can. There are SIM cards that can do that. If you have an iPhone check out some cases that give your iPhone some NFC loving.

  3. Tim Roberts June 26, 2012, 4:31 am

    A useful resource – “Pictures of People Scanning QR-codes”

    http://picturesofpeoplescanningqrcodes.tumblr.com/ ;-)

  4. Marc NICOLE November 15, 2012, 9:50 pm

    Yes, but…

    QRCode are also very very cheap !
    So yes, a NFC can be a very good solution for some application, but if you want for example do make a “physical virtual shop” like having big poster with a lot of products printed and you make your shopping waiting the bus…. then I don’t see how to make it NFC efficiently.

  5. Marco Alvarado November 5, 2013, 2:57 pm

    There is a problem with this comparison. It is trying to generalise based on an specific factor. NFC and QR Codes are different things.

    As Marc NICOLE states, it is not possible to use a “Near FC” with a “Far” element. You need the QR here.

    Also, you can put QR codes everywhere even if the elements are not prepared technologically for that. A sticker, a screen, can be directly printed in a piece of glass, even on your skin or, with care, you could make one with atoms, etc. The NFC needs special type of technology that needs to be integrated and … again … needs to be near.

    But if you don’t like to “show” something to the eyes of the people you can use the NFC. Is it more safer? Really not, it is just different technology. And ALL technology have good and bad points, you just need to focus on how to find and describe them.

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