Effective Uses of Near Field Communication

Information exchange—receiving and giving—is the most advantageous way to use near field communication (NFC) at a show. The technology can be an innovative perk you offer attendees and vendors.

Data is encoded in an electronic chip called a “tag.” That information can be “open” for anyone with an NFC scanner to read or encrypted, making it available only to those with the key to unlock it. Many mobile devices are now manufactured with integrated NFC capability, but older phones

or tablets can add a SIM card or microSD card compatible with NFC.

Consider these uses of NFC to help decide what can be a value-add for your show:


Vendors can provide additional information about products and services, special discounts or show exclusives via an NFC tag attached to posters, table tents and other items. Attendees need only wave their mobile device over the tag to get the details.

NFC networking

Using NFC participant badges creates an opportunity for everyone—attendees, vendors, media, show staff—to quickly and easily share contact information. Encode tags with opt-in details from each person and promote the opportunity to quickly receive and save information to mobile devices for future connections.

Techno-treasure hunt

Change up your gamification by using NFC for treasure hunts or trivia games. In addition to connecting games to your mobile app (thereby increasing usage), you give attendees a new way to play.

Getting greener

NFC technology can also be used to replace a variety of printed materials. Whether added to an attendee badge (See How CES Gets Everybody Registered—Quick) or in some other form, the tag can replace paper versions of fliers, coupons, door prize tickets and other stuff that ends up filling recycling bins and trash cans.

Paying Pal

Allow attendees to pay for anything with NFC. Eliminate the need for cash or credit with the option to cover fees with this kind of electronic payment.

If you decide to implement any of these options, you’re going to need to incorporate some education about the benefits and usage of NFC. Some of your participants might not yet be aware of this technology. This creates a new opportunity to engage with your show participants, but it might also require some additional training for your staff. Be sure you ask your NFC vendor about this kind of support when you explore ways to use this new tool.

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