NFC vs. iBeacon: How do they really stack up?

Feb. 19, 2014 | by Steven Gurley

BLE vs NFC Thumbnail

Near Field Communications, or NFC, is a powerful consumer engagement technology that has taken a massively bad rap over the past two years.

Many dismissed it when Apple didn't put it in the iPhone 5. Then, the slower-than-projected adoption of NFC-based mobile payments prompted some to proclaim NFC dead. Apple's Airpass feature, a peer-to-peer communication capability released in iOS7, raised additional doubts about NFC's viability and now Apple's iBeacon feature, another iOS7 capability, has whipped the press into an anti-NFC frenzy.

Since Apple's 2013 announcement, the press has been praising iBeacon for its ability to passively identify the in-venue presence of smartphone-equipped consumers. They have also been praising it for its ability to passively notify and then subsequently deliver localized information. These features, along with the press' embrace of iBeacon's perceived ease-of-use, location services, energy efficiency, security and low cost, have made iBeacon the sweetheart of the tech industry.

Since the press' enthusiasm for iBeacon has gone largely unchallenged, many have taken the liberty to label NFC as irrelevant because it lacks iBeacon-like features. But, is this the truth?

It's time to set the record straight. To learn the truth about iBeacon and to better understand the true capabilities of NFC, download and take a look at the following two documents (from Digital Signage Today sister site Mobile Payments Today):

1. An infographic that compares iBeacon to NFC.

2. A white paper that provides a detailed comparison of iBeacon to NFC.

I think what you'll see will be revealing.

Topics: Mobile Interactivity

Steven Gurley / Steve Gurley is broadly recognized as an industry expert and thought-leader in mobile and mobile content management solutions. He is a widely published author of numerous papers, articles and blogs on mobility and serves on numerous mobile advisory boards and committees, including serving as the current chairman of the Digital Screenmedia Association's committee on mobile. Steve is currently the President and CEO of Pyrim Technologies, a mobile business and new market development company.
View Steven Gurley's profile on LinkedIn

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