Author Geoffrey Zabell (Product Manager)

Most people tune-in to Apple’s annual keynotes for updates on their favorite products, like the iPhone or Apple Watch. At EVRYTHNG, we got excited about a more low key part of their September announcement — new NFC capabilities! Specifically, Apple revealed their most recent line of iPhones include a feature to make the NFC user experience simpler.

Remember last year, when Apple announced NFC support in iOS 11? This was a step in the right direction, but didn’t quite go far enough. Now Apple has delivered in a bigger way, enhancing the NFC experience on their iPhone XS, XS Max and XR by no longer requiring a mobile app to launch NFC-based mobile experiences.

How does it work?
It’s simple and mimics the way native iPhone cameras read QR codes today. A user taps an NFC tag with their iPhone, even from the phone’s home screen or lock screen. Once the tag is detected, a notification appears on screen and the user can then click on the notification to open the experience, or url, associated with the NFC tag. This creates a streamlined experience for users and crucially removes the dependency on a 3rd party app.

Frictionless consumer engagement
With this development, over 2 billion smartphones can now natively interact with QR codes and NFC tags, without the need for a dedicated app. This is huge in the world of product digitization. It means brands and retailers can offer new digital experiences direct to their end customers, knowing that it’s now even easier for consumers to access product information, reviews, loyalty programs and more.

We’re already seeing an explosion of QR code adoption in the US and Europe since iOS support came out last year. And now we’ll see brands adding NFC to unique items at scale, particularly higher value goods where the marginal, incremental technology cost has minimal impact. From an EVRYTHNG IoT SaaS Platform perspective, we support all and any digital trigger on physical products, ranging across proprietary codes, QR codes, NFC and RFID tags and any type of intelligent packaging.

Apple’s announcement is especially topical, coming so soon after GS1’s launch of the breakthrough new Digital Link which is now driving a global upgrade of the world’s barcodes. It means any physical product can have a unique url, encoded in a QR code or NFC tag, which links to a digital identity in the cloud and enables a raft of supply chain and DTC applications.

Both these recent developments – Apple’s NFC news and GS1’s Digital Link – are critical industry inflection points which accelerate the digitization of the world’s 4 trillion consumer products.