NFC, Near Field Communication, is famously used for contactless payments, such as Apple Pay. NFC smart tags are adaptable and inexpensive passive tags that are included in a variety of things like keycards, wristbands, and adhesive stickers. We see them on price tags in retail stores to get digital coupons, museums carry them on exhibit posts to provide more information, and specific mountain trails have them posted to give hiking insight/maps. NFC tags are read by a device when held near the tag. The data on a tag typically contains just an identifier, but some tags have capacities up to a few thousand bytes of data.
FileMaker & NFC
Previous versions of FileMaker Go have included features for receiving data from the device’s sensors, such as camera, microphone, accelerometers, and GPS. FileMaker Go 19 adds the ability to read NFC tags on iPhones. For example, FileMaker Go 19 can utilize NFC to track inventory or counting attendees entering an event.
The Script Workspace in FileMaker Pro 19 includes the new script step, Configure NFC Reading. This script step is configured with an action, either Read or Cancel. The Read action requires a script to be specified. The script runs whenever a tag is read, an error occurs, the user cancels the operation, or another Configure NFC Reading script step cancels the operation. Optional parameters include a Parameter that passes to the script, a Timeout value (in seconds), and a Continuous Reading option allows reads of multiple tags.
Before use, users should note:
- Only one NFC operation is allowed at a time unless Continous Reading is selected, where multiple tags can be read consecutively.
- NFC reading does not work on devices that do not have the required hardware: iPads, any iPhones older than the iPhone 7.
- There are many NFC standards, so not all NFC and RFID tags can be read by an iPhone due to differences in communication standards.
Reading NFC tags in FileMaker Go is conceptually similar to scanning barcodes, but is faster when scanning multiple tags. It is not necessary for NFC tags to be visible to the user, making them a better choice than barcodes for asset tracking and identification. For more information about the Configure NFC Reading script step and the format of the parameter that is passed to one’s script, see FileMaker Pro Help.
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