Ask the Board – June 8, 2020 | DILEEP VARMA


“How will Near Field Communication (NFC) connectivity change digital signage in the next five years?”

Both NFC and digital signage technology have been around for several years, but have yet to find a seriously integrated use case. In the next few years, as social advertising gains momentum, we could see a couple of very specific and innovative integration points. Though, in the bigger scheme of things, NFC is severely restrictive in the integration points it can enable due to its very short-range communication field. It would be ideal to have other alternate mid-range RF-based technologies to enable a more innovative interaction of user and signage systems.

That said, there are still a few areas that I am hopeful will see adoption in the next few years:

1. Take a coupon with you – This is the idea where a call to action is displayed on the digital signage, and the user can use his/her device to grab a coupon on specialized website or social handle to be able to take the transaction further.

2. Surveys or interactive content – Viewers could use NFC to authenticate and submit a survey. The very limiting short-range of NFC does pose some privacy concerns, which would have to be dealt with to enable this feature. An example scenario could be that the user takes a survey on his/her NFC-enabled device, and then NFC transmits the survey back to the signage CMS.

3. Personalized signage – This is a semi-private experience where the signage is taken into a private use case for a short period of time via authenticated NFC credentials to provide a personal social experience to the user (or group). Security and privacy will be addressed, and signage will be restored to its “public” form once the experience is complete. I can see this being very useful in a retail setting (as a very simple example) where signage could be a very useful tool within a fitting room to provide a digital rich experience to the shopper.

NFC is a very personal short-range authentication/communication technology, and digital signage is a public technology. This will limit integration between the two.


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Head of Product Development and Operations
Outcome Health

Out-of-Home Network Council

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