NFC Tag Reading in FileMaker Go
Near Field Communication is a technology developed in the early 2000s that allows for contactless communication between devices using radio waves to transfer data.
NFC can share information between two active devices, such as two smartphones sharing contact details, or between an active device and a passive device, such as a smartphone reading a NFC tag embedded in a poster. NFC tags are tiny, inexpensive chips that contain a small amount of memory, a radio chip, and an antenna. They can be visible or hidden in almost any object, thus allowing common household items to turn into “smart objects” easily.
Although technology already exists that lets us share data using radio waves, NFC is specifically designed to share information securely and faster than earlier methods (Bluetooth, RFID, QR codes, etc). As cited by the NFC Forum, there are over 2 billion NFC-enabled devices worldwide. From making mobile payments at the grocery store to scanning boarding passes at the airport, NFC has rapidly become a mainstream technology in our everyday lives. The video below demonstrates how FileMaker Go makes it easy to incorporate NFC by introducing a new script step to read these tags.
NFC In Action
To set up a test case for NFC, I acquired a pack of NFC tags that worked at a frequency of 13.56MHz. I programmed mine using a free app called NFC Tools which I downloaded from the App Store. It took less than a minute to associate a serial number with my specific NFC tag, and I was able to easily reconfigure the tag to associate other test data. My iPhone XR acted as an active device and through the use of FileMaker Go 19, my serial number was scanned, passed as a parameter, and set in a field when my iPhone was placed no more than 4 inches away from the tag. Currently, iPhones XS, XS Max, XR, and newer models equipped with the latest iOS software can read and encode NFC tags natively. iPhones 7 and 8 are limited to reading NFC Tags with the help of an additional scanning app. Note that this capability will not work on iPads.
Introducing “Configure NFC Reading” Script Step
Be sure to download the file at the end of this article to follow along with the demonstration. FileMaker Go 19 added the script step “Configure NFC Reading” to read NFC tags.
Configure NFC Reading [ Action: Read; Script: