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Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth vs. NFC; What’s the Difference & Which is Best?

Wireless Technologies
In todays world, cellphones come with a whole myriad of featuresets & apps that the majorty of us simply dont use on a regular basis. It also doesnt help that, on the surface anyway, some of these functions seem to serve the same purpose or perform the same task. When it comes to wireless communication, NFC, Bluetooth, & Wi-Fi rule the airwaves but the specific or inherent pros & cons of each may not be overly obvious. Below we will look at each type and the benefits or potential disadvantages of these proximity communication technologies:


NFC (Near Field Communication) is predicted to be the future of mobile marketing. NFC tags are now being embedded in signs, posters and in products. These tags can in a NFC device such as a smartphone open a browser to relay a message or offer. The consumer will tap his smartphone to the tag to receive the transmission. NFC technology is up and coming as a mobile payment tool and is used by Google Wallet. Google Wallet permits wireless payment via a smartphone app. Slowly, you’ll will see NFC technology in lots of different places like kiosks, shopping malls, subways, and bus stops to name a few. NFC is predicted to be a significant rival to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to transmit proximity marketing messages and may dominate the market.

Mainstream One Day?

It is not all plain sailing as there are serious obstacles to NFC becoming the market leader. One problem is consumers must download an app to use the NFC tag to receive messages. Whereas nearly all smartphones have as default Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. There are other problems too. NFC advertisement campaigns require consumers to start the engagement. This requires the consumer to read the poster or sign, and then they have to decide they want to tap their device to receive the message. Also the consumer needs to get up close to the NFC tag to start the message. It is doubtful consumers will be willing to read and respond to advertising messages that require effort on their part.

Wi-FiBluetooth & Wi-Fi

In contrast, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-based campaigns use a technology that are already installed on most smartphones and can send an opt-in message directly to the smartphone that consumers already uses for their communications. The consumer isn’t required to start the transmission a definite plus in favor of blue tooth and Wi-Fi as a campaign can send a message to all consumers who come within range, as far as 300 feet. Those consumers who decide to opt in to receive the marketing message only needs to touch the screen on their smartphone. bluetoothBluetooth is a common wireless data sharing tool pre installed on nearly all smartphones. Wi-Fi is also commonly used by consumers as well and Wi-Fi hot spots can be found almost everywhere these days. For most people both technologies are familiar and most believe they can safely receive messages without accidentally transmitting sensitive private data. The familiarity of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi a definite advantage over NFC when it comes to proximity marketing. It may not be a question which is best NFC or Blue Tooth and Wi-Fi. There may very well be a place for multiple methods of conveying proximity marketing messages to consumers and new methods may yet surface. There may also be a crossover of different technologies as enterprises currently use many methods to get their corporate message out which includes radio, TV, flyers and online ads.

At the End of The Day...

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are very effective in proximity marketing because they start communication via the smartphone to which many consumers regularly give their attention. That doesn’t mean to say businesses can't use all technologies available to them. At the end of the day their decisions will be based on cost and effectiveness. NFC may still have a leading place in proximity marketing campaigns. It is still early days and the technology hasn’t yet stopped evolving.
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