QR Codes have been around for a while. They are everywhere from marketing, coupons, tickets to being scanned for discounts in supermarkets. On the other hand, NFC is a much newer technology but its usage is expected to explode over the next few years. So what is the deal with these two technologies? Which one should you use and when?
NFC stands for Near Field Communication and works over a very short range. It is primarily designed to be used in smartphones, to allow consumers to purchase goods from their phones. In the past few years, NFC has been installed in most new smartphones sold here in Australia. The technology was introduced at CeBIT 2010 where large companies presented their commercial NFC applications.
On the other hand, QR Codes are designed to be used on paper or any traditional surface that is not an electronic device. Their usage is everywhere from magazines, newspapers, road signs and more. These two technologies are very different in how they are used, so lets take a look at some of their key differences.
NFC vs QR Code – Detailed Comparison
QR Codes usually take a long time to be scanned. That is because they are designed for traditional surfaces and it takes up to three scans before the QR code reader can find the correct one. NFC on the other hand, only requires that you get very close to your device’s NFC receiver for it to work.
The range of NFC is very short, which can be up to five centimetres only. The distance between your phone and the NFC receiver should not exceed three centimetres or it will fail to read correctly. On the other hand, QR Codes have a much larger range, depending on where it is printed, but the usual range is from 10cm to 100cm.
QR Codes work by reflecting a very simple signal across a large distance. To get a working QR code you do not need any other device but your mobile phone. NFC requires two devices in order to work. One is the NFC enabled device that is trying to read or place data on another NFC device. You need both devices for it to work.
The type of data that can be held by each technology differs greatly as well. QR Codes can hold very little information, sometimes only a few bytes. This data can be text, numbers or commands. NFC on the other hand, allows you to store much more data within the same space. You can put images, videos and audio files in there as well.
QR Codes are not supported by all operating systems out there. For example, Android and iOS both fully support QR Codes. This means that you can use them on your smartphone with just a few taps. On the other hand, NFC is supported by only certain operating systems so it limits its usage.
QR Codes are made for commercial use to help companies provide their customers with better service. On the other hand, NFC is still in its infancy when it comes to commercial usage. This means that it has a lot of potential, but right now there are not many ways to take advantage of the technology commercially.
NFC vs QR Code, which one is better? That completely depends on what you are trying to achieve, the size and shape of your business and many other factors. If you wish to place QR Codes for commercial use, then there is nothing stopping you from doing that. On the other hand, if you want to put an NFC chip in your product or advertisement then it will need a good deal of research. As of today, there are no commercial applications for NFC.