NFC, RFID and creating better libraries

I’m being told that my piece on NFC yesterday (below) was too difficult for librarians to understand so here’s a shorter non-technical summary:
1. For libraries to really start seeing benefits from RFID + mobile technologies we need Apple to add a small piece of code to their iOS operating system.

2. Android already has it.

3. If iPhones had it too developers would see more value in building apps that would reduce dependence on RFID kiosks and greatly enhance the user experience.

4. Let’s ask Apple to catch up.
I’ve also been asked if any of this has any implications for  privacy. Well NFC certainly could although the risk would be lower than conventional RFID due to the short range nature of the technology.

Any queries – please add a comment.




  • Library mostly are on High Frequency 13.56MHz, does NFC support 13.56MHz and the other protocol which is supported in the library RFID industry? If yes then there is possibility but again the PRIVACY CLAUSE !!!

  • Yes NFC supports 13.56MHz so could read ISO 15693 encoded tags with devices that use NFC-V. That’s really the issue here.

    Privacy is an issue being addressed by the EU and applies to NFC as much as RFID. Search this site for EU Mandate for more information.

  • In India Privacy is not a major challenge, especially South East Asian Countries. Now as Apple came with NFC support mobile devices like to see how many RFID companies comes with RFID App for library and for library users and if they come what will happen to major product line like RFID Staff station, self checkout kiosk, drop boxes, etc !!!????

  • No technology lasts forever but it will take some time for new apps to appear even if Apple can be persuaded to add NFC-V to their OS. At the moment I only know of universities that have developed apps that can interact with RFID but products like those from Solus and Boopsie could readily be adapted to do the same.

  • Bibliotheca had launched a mobile app for staff issue and return, but they have recalled the product after sometime? But with NFC inbult with mobile device, don’t you think now it is open ground for third parties to venture into it…

  • The Bibliotheca device I saw was an RFID scanner coupled with a smartphone – not internal to the device – was very expensive.

    The opportunity to replace existing RFID hardware with a cheaper solution already exists but librarians are no longer engaged with the technology, only the solutions. That means it’s the market that decides what to develop not the client.

    ILS companies employ more librarians than RFID companies – so they tend to be more aware of needs and opportunities for change.

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