What business owners need to know about these developing technologies.
You've probably seen the acronym NFC but might not be clear about what it is and why there's been so much hullabaloo about it. NFC stands for near field communications -- a secure radio technology that enables two devices to wirelessly trade data when they are within about five centimeters of each other.
One example of NFC is the Chase Blink credit card, which includes an NFC chip and enables users to wave their cards in front of an NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminal instead of having to swipe it.
For many businesses, the goal is to use NFC to turn smartphones into "mobile wallets," meaning you would need only your smartphone, not your credit card, to make payments. Some of the major credit card companies, banks and cellular carriers have created an international mobile wallet standards consortium called Isis. Similarly, Google has developed its own set of mobile wallet standards, called Google Wallet.
U.K.-based telecommunications research firm Juniper Research has predicted NFC-enabled payments will total $180 billion by 2017. But this number just begins to illustrate the paradigm-shifting changes at retail NFC can bring.
Here's what business owners need to know about NFC.