QR Codes, RFID and NFC: 3 Technologies that Define the Information Age

Man’s history on Earth can be tracked through the different ages. If man’s earliest time on the planet is called the Stone Age, it is only fair to say that mankind currently inhabits the Information Age. Here are 3 technologies that pretty much sum up the Information Age and everything that makes it unique.

Can’t tune into this radio station

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is not a new technology; it has been around for decades ever since the US military first began experimenting with it. Originally intended to be a used as a tracking device, RFID technology has come a long way. Gone are the days when adopting RIFD technology meant severe draining of a company’s financial resources.  As computer and microprocessor technology improved, RFID became a cheaper and a much more viable option. Most companies have security systems based around RFID technology. However, companies are going one step further than RFID cards; they are having employees implanted with RFID chips. You know how the ship’s computer in Star Trek knows exactly where in the ship an individual is at any given time? That is exactly the kind of information that companies like to have about their employees, especially when security is of paramount importance.

Scanning the square code

Unlike RFID, QR code technology is relevantly new. Also, rather than a product of military spending, QR code technology is the end result of the efforts of technology enthusiasts looking to make the world a better place. However, QR codes are certainly a lot more popular than RFID. QR codes have been put to numerous uses and yet we have only begun to scratch the surface; the true potential of QR codes is yet to be unleashed. QR codes can store massive amounts of information and unlike RFID they are not dependent upon databases. Any person with a smartphone or a computer can generate a QR code to share information. The most common use of QR codes is to create virtual business cards, with the intention of sharing contact information. However, QR codes can be programmed do a lot more.

Bump to share

Near field communication (NFC) technology is still in its infancy. Like RFID, and unlike QR code technology, NFC requires specialized equipment to operate. Sure, you can sue a smartphone to take advantage of this technology, but only if it has been fitted with a NFC chip. The same smartphone can simply use an app to generate or scan QR codes. The main attraction with NFC lies in its novelty factor. Imagine transferring files from one device to another simply by bumping the two devices into each other. As mentioned before, it seems unique and is a novel way to share information, but both devices would have to be NFC enabled for the “bump” to work. With many smartphone manufacturers currently are refraining from including NFC capabilities on any but their most expensive devices, the future of NFC remains in the balance. However, the advent of mobile payment systems, such as Google Wallet, is a ray of hope for the existence of NFC.

The 3 technologies mentioned above are in various stages of their lifecycle. Like any other technology, they too will become obsolete one day. However that day is a very long time away.

Mathew Ronald is the author of this guest post.