Thea technology protocol that allows NFC to be able to work in two directions synchronously. The press release touted the flexibility of two-way communication and the standards established at the outset to ensure universal access:
The extension of the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) to peer-to-peer use in SNEP is a significant advance. Previously, NDEF was applicable only to NFC tags in reader/writer mode. Now, SNEP enables the use of the openly standardized NDEF in peer-to-peer mode, making seamless interchange of data a reality. Application developers no longer need to concern themselves with how their NDEF data gets transferred between NFC-enabled devices. By providing this capability, the SNEP specification makes the difference between reader-writer and peer-to-peer operation modes disappear – a major step towards global interoperability of NFC applications.
What does all that mean for the technology and for the ways nonprofits can utilize the technology?
The initial development of NFC was to create a temporary network of information from one device to another – from a transmitter to a receiver. Asrecently, one of the ways this one-way communication would be put to work is to allow one’s smartphone (the transmitter) to act as a virtual wallet, sending your e-dollars to the receiver at the local commercial establishment. With this exchange, the store’s receiver could not send information back to the phone.
The newly-announced exchange means that two NFC-enabled devices can synchronize information between them. That exchange could be contact information between colleagues (Engaget’s announcement of the announcement compares such an exchange with the iPhone app ‘Bump‘), which might drive down the need for business cards. Or it could be exchange of information from local services, like between a theater’s NDEF-enabled kiosk offering prices and times for movies, and then allowing the user to purchase tickets to his or her smartphone. The patron could then use the phone to pass through a turnstile with the phone as his/her ‘ticket.’
An obvious avenue open to nonprofits would be to have similar kiosks (machines perhaps about the size of an old-fashioned parking meter) that collect donations. The exciting thing will be what organizations will offer back to the donor. Perhaps further information about a project’s development can be shared? Or coupons to businesses that also support your charity?
What if that person who interacted with the stationary kiosk becomes a moving kiosk in his or her own right? Perhaps donors can collect short videos concerning the charity they just supported. Showing those videos to friends and families make his a valuable spokesperson (a ‘carrier’?) of your organization’s message.
The excitement of two-way communication is that a larger, open Wi-Fi network will not be needed to the same degree and people can enjoy the freedom to chose what info they garner from which NFC/Simple NDEF device. The one huge challenge, though, will be keeping up with all the acronyms as the technology evolves.