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What is NFC & Why touchless printing is the future

From contactless payments to secure, wireless printing, NFC has quietly transformed how we live, shop, and work over the last two decades. This innovative technology is all around us. But what is NFC, what does it stand for, and how does it work?

NFC simply means Near Field Communication. It’s a wireless data transfer technology found in contactless bank cards and smartphones, letting electronic devices communicate with each other when they are close. This allows for contactless transactions and for data and information to be exchanged quickly and securely.

How does NFC work

The technology behind NFC is based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and uses electromagnetic induction to transmit information. In simple terms, any device fitted with an NFC chip, whether a smartphone or contactless card, can exchange information with another NFC equipped device. It’s similar in principle to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but has faster connectivity, albeit with a shorter range.

This short-range is why you hold your smartphone or contactless card so close to the card reader when making a transaction. Of course, NFC isn’t just for buying coffee; it’s also helping businesses and other organisations evolve in the new era of hybrid working.

NFC adds extra security to printing and facilitates touchless printing, which is ideal for hybrid offices following the pandemic.

What is NFC printing?

NFC printing is essentially touchless printing. Just as NFC has revolutionised payments through contactless transactions, this innovative technology has also had a significant impact on the world of printing. The latest printers and scanners come with NFC technology built-in. That means you can print from your smartphone, tablet, or NFC ID card for the ultimate convenience in your home, office, or business.

Your next question might be how to print using NFC? It’s simple and secure. Printers equipped with an NFC card reader print only when a user releases print jobs directly from the machine using a compatible NFC ID card or authorised smart device. This means your documents are only printed when you’re ready to collect them from the printer. While this can also reduce waste, costs and help increase efficiency and productivity, the most significant benefit is print security.

Hybrid working presents new challenges for businesses when it comes to security. Data breaches can be costly, especially since the advent of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) in 2018. NFC comes with numerous safeguards that make this technology the perfect companion for business printers and scanners.

Brother’s Secure Print+ solution uses NFC and has been designed to help businesses protect documents and improve print security. This is ideal for companies or organisations that work with private or sensitive information. There’s also Secure Print Advanced, an upgraded feature on Brother devices that stores documents on the network until they are authorised for release by the user.

Brother’s Secure Print Professional Printer Range includes a range of additional security features such as end-to-end encryption and port-based access control, Automatic Intrusion Detection software – that automatically shuts down the device if suspicious activity is detected – ID card protected printing, and the ability to securely lock down certain functions based on user profiles and authority levels.

Difference between NFC, Bluetooth & Wi-Fi

There are several differences between NFC and other wireless data transfer technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Firstly, devices that communicate using NFC do not pair and don’t remember each other afterwards. Instead, they interact on a one-off basis every time and then forget each other. No data is stored, which means it is more secure than other methods.

NFC also transmits and receives faster, offers a more stable connection, and is less susceptible to interference. However, it does have a shorter range, which is why both contactless cards, smartphones, and NFC ID cards for printers need to be held close to the card reader. However, this short-range is actually seen as a security advantage over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. While you can accidentally log in to an unsecured Wi-Fi network on your device, there’s no danger of this with NFC, which has been the go-to choice for transactions.

Summary

NFC may have been around for several years now. Still, its usefulness and value only increase with time thanks to the innovative ways it can be employed. From touchless printing for extra hygiene in post-pandemic workplaces to NFC ID cards for ensuring document security in the age of remote working, this technology has a starring role to play in the hybrid offices of the future.

For more information on setting up effective hybrid working practices, visit our Get Hybrid Smart hub.

 

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