When word began to spread about Apple’s iBeacon, many observers proclaimed that the technology would supplant Near Field Communications (NFC) as a mobile payment medium.

That assessment, however, misses a key point: It is an apples-and-oranges comparison.

iBeacon (and PayPal’s Beacon, which was coincidentally rolled out about the same time) are not, of themselves, a technology. They are but an extension of a technology called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which has been around for almost a decade. (NFC is based on RFID tech that dates to the 1940s.)

BLE has a number of use cases. So does NFC. But because of how the respective technologies work, they are not the same sort of use cases.

This infographic compares the key similarities and differences between BLE and NFC in how they are used to enhance the customer experience.Image


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