As the world becomes more contactless thanks to “tap and go” technology, we’ve become increasingly dependent on near-field communication (NFC)
NFC technology uses tags to transfer data over short distances (usually within 4 inches) and is an evolution of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. It allows you to make payments, share media, launch websites and even exchange NFC business cards
When it comes to business, NFC technology can be used to streamline processes in countless ways. This is especially true for field industries, where efficient operations, rich data transfer and real-time data insights are essential.
Getting Started With NFC Technology
To equip your team with the full potential of NFC technology, you’ll need to take a couple of steps:
- Purchase NFC tags: The uses of NFC technology outlined in this article involve attaching NFC tags to equipment and supplies. NFC cards, wristbands, chips and fobs are also available options. You’ll need to research the best types of NFC technology for your needs after taking into consideration our tips below. For attachable NFC tags/stickers, make sure the tag is compatible with the equipment’s surface and environment.
- Use an NFC-compatible software solution: Once you have your tags, you’ll need to integrate them with a software solution, such as FastField. This way, you can use a mobile device to read the tag, receive its data and access digital auto-populated forms where you can read, update or report the data.
To get the most bang for your buck, make sure to use a service with the following capabilities: Mobile cloud-based reporting, geolocation tracking, customizable digital forms and rich data collection.
Getting Started With NFC Technology
Here are five practical ways to use NFC technology in the field to optimize your operations.
#1: Track Assets
Prevent the loss of equipment and materials through NFC tags. From small tools prone to disappear to heavy machinery, you can track their location and keep records of who's been using them.
To do this, attach an NFC tag to an asset you wish to track. Then, when an NFC-enabled smart device is held near the tag, its unique identifying information (e.g., serial number), along with location and time stamps will auto-populate on the digital form to be reported back to your database.
This method works well with equipment check-out and check-in forms. Before using a tool, have workers open a digital check-out form on their mobile device and enter their personal information. Then, have the form prompt them to tap their device on the equipment’s NFC tag. Its serial number, the time/date of the check-out and the location of the asset will all auto-populate on the form to be saved to your records once submitted.
This process will streamline your tracking processes and improve traceability – especially if you operate across multiple sites. Simply log into your database or dashboard (from the field or the office) to monitor every movement of your assets in real time.
#2: Access Asset information
This same method can also help workers in the field access valuable asset data. By simply tapping a mobile device on an asset’s NFC tag, they can instantly receive relevant information that will assist them with the task, such as operating instructions and safety reminders.
Your team can also improve transparency and safety by allowing workers to view any equipment’s service history before operation. If service is overdue or getting close, they’ll know to be cautious or make a service request – without the guesswork or messy paper trails.
#3:make service requests
Speaking of service requests, NFC technology (along with the right reporting software) can optimize this process through automation. With FastField’s Tasks feature, for example, a worker in the field who notices an issue in need of corrective action has the ability to:
- Open a work order template on their smartphone through the app.
- Use NFC technology to instantly populate information about the asset (e.g., serial number, service history, location) onto the form.
- Assign the work order to maintenance personnel with instructions, a priority level and a due date.
- Track the status of the request every step of the way through the FastField Portal.
#4: Streamline Safety Requests
Implement NFC technology to optimize pre-operational safety checks. Attach an NFC tag to a vehicle, machine or tool so workers can gain immediate access to digital safety checklists on their smart devices before operation.
Customize each safety checklist to be specific to each asset. Then, when operators arrive on site, they simply need to hold their device near the asset, fill out and submit the checklist that pops up, submit, and they’re ready to operate the equipment with confidence.
No document mix-ups. No time wasted. No unobserved safety hazards.
#5: Clock In & clock out
Enhance access control and attendance tracking through NFC technology.
When entering a site, simply have employees and contractors hold an NFC-compatible mobile device near a designated tag to open up a digital timesheet with automated time and location stamps. After verifying their credentials, a tap of the finger will log a record of their entry/exit.
This method can be used to verify on-site personnel, track daily attendance and keep records of meeting and training participation.
Near Field Communication + FastField Automation
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NFC technology will help streamline processes for your team in the field, leading to more productivity. To take full advantage of this wireless communication, however, you’ll need to pair it with a digital forms and automated workflow solution.
allows you to build fully-customizable, NFC-compatible digital forms. With rich data collection, automated workflows, real-time data insights and secure cloud data storage, FastField has the capabilities you need to bolster reporting and maximize efficiency.
See how FastField can strengthen your field operations today!