June 10, 2020 10 min read

Read NFC for Business Applications

Read NFC for Business Applications

Read and validate NFC tags for access control, attendance, asset tracking, and location tracking.


Access Control

Asset Tracking

Attendance Tracking

Contact Tracing

Employee Tracking



Track & Trace


Why NFC for business applications?

To best understand the answer to that question, it’s important to know a little about how NFC works. NFC (Near-Field Communication) is a special type of RFID integrated circuit that can be read in close proximity by smartphones and tablets that have built-in NFC readers.

The NFC integrated circuit is laminated with an antenna between plastic films to become an “NFC tag”. With that form factor, the technology can be turned into a card or sticky label.

  • As a card or wristband, it can be used for access control and attendance in similar ways ID cards are currently used.
  • As a label, it can be used for asset tracking when affixed to an asset. When affixed to a location, it can be used for location tracking.

NFC and security

The primary value-add with NFC is better security. Since barcodes are visual, they can be copied. Whereas, the NFC tag’s UID cannot be simply copied. Hackers with the right tools can copy UIDs to other NFC tags but consider whether that’s likely to happen in your use case.

The CodeREADr app not only captures the UID but also records that it was read from the NFC tag. That becomes a scan property for verification purposes with every record. That means you can check whether or not an NFC tag was read or the app user manually entered it.

NFC and Proof of Presence

To illustrate the need for proof of presence, consider these tasks:

  1. A security guard checking locked doors and fire extinguishers are full.
  2. A care-taker making their patient rounds while in-facility or remotely.
  3. An employee or subcontractor disinfecting surfaces.

Because of lower costs, businesses use barcodes predominantly for tracking these tasks. Proof of presence is valuable when using GPS tracking of the scanning device. Then, the administrator knows that at least the app user was in the general vicinity.

However, consider high-rises with these tasks on many floors. And, consider having many locations close together. GPS will likely not give accurate enough results in either case.

In these examples, reading the NFC tag’s UID affixed at each location will give a much better proof of presence. You could even enable photo-taking and a signature.

What NFC devices to use?

Android devices had the capability to read NFC tags for several years now. For iOS devices, only the iPhone 7 and later models include NFC readers.

For Android OS 4.4+ and iOS 13+ the readers can capture two types of data:

  1. The NFC circuit’s unique ID (UID).
  2. NDEF Messages consisting of one or more NFC Record.

[For reference, the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and iPhone SE also have NFC readers and can install iOS 13+ but we have not tested with them yet so we recommend iPhone 7 devices or newer at this time.]

Choosing an NFC tag

There are many types to choose from. The main criterion is that the tags need to be NDEF compliant.

For NFC tags:

For NFC cards:

For NFC wristbands:

Reading NFC with CodeREADr

There are several options available with the new CodeREADr apps.

  1. Quickly tap the “Tap to Scan” screen to initiate an NFC reading. A long-press initiates a barcode scan with the camera.
  2. Quickly tap the “Tap to Scan” screen to initiate a barcode scan with the camera. A long-press initiates an NFC reading.
  3. Disable the camera if no barcodes need to be scanned.
  4. Read UID alone or read only the first NDEF record or read all the NDEF records written to the tag.

For further information please reach out on our website’s Chat Now utility for real-time support. [To see that utility you need to accept our cookies.] Or you can email support@CodeREADr.com.