An introduction to NFC tags and how they are used in the facilities management industry
Have you ever noticed the paper- based proof of attendance check lists in public bathrooms across facilities such as airports, hotels or hospitals? Perhaps you’ve wondered how often these are updated and how accurate they are? Today, organisations are making the shift towards introducing digital attendance sheets completed by their cleaning staff via the use of NFC tags. But how does this technology work and how can it help benefit cleaning and facility management organisations?
What does NFC stand for and how does the technology work?
NFC (Near Field Communication) is a wireless technology which allows for the transfer of data such as text or numbers between two NFC enabled devices. NFC tags enable wireless communication between an electronic device and any item with a tag placed on or near it as the name suggests. The tag is usually in the shape of a sticker or label and can also come in the form of an NFC enabled product such as wristbands, key fobs and most recently enabled on mobile devices where customers can scan their phone to pay for items. NFC tags contain a small microchip which holds a small amount of memory for the technology to store and transfer information. There is also a small coil wire which produces magnetic fields which will react with your device.
How are NFC tags encoded?
When adding data onto an NFC tag it is referred to as encoding. There are various forms of data which can be encoded onto the device ranging from contact details such as a phone number to an email or website address. The device will then be enabled to receive and store this information allowing it to remember it in future.
Which mobile phones support them?
Almost all Android phones are NFC enabled and used for encoding, however Apple have recently introduced NFC scanning on iPhone although an app is required to do this whereas Android does not require an app.
How do businesses use NFC tags?
NFC technology plays an important role in businesses today in areas such as manufacturing, logistics and human resources. Obtaining this data gives organisations better insights into the running of their operations. It can be used for a range of purposes including: marketing whereby consumers can receive personalised advertisements, personal use, such as using Apple Pay for paying of services and asset management where NFC tags are placed on an asset to locate it.
Facilities management companies use proof of attendance sheets within public bathroom facilities to record their cleaning activity. This is typically done by completing paper-based attendance sheets which are usually positioned on the back of the facility door. The trouble with these type of attendance sheets is that it can be difficult to tell if staff have actually attended at the time the signature is signed and may not give customers confidence that facilities have been cleaned. However, with the introduction of digital attendance sheets using NFC tags, cleaning staff can scan the tag using their mobile device to prove their attendance. Usually the NFC tag will be attached to the facilities location, such as bathrooms in an airport, hotel or hospital premises. It will have been encoded with a link to a form for the user to complete in relation to items cleaned. Once the user has completed the form, it is then easy to identify which items have been cleaned and what stock needs refilled.
What are the benefits of using NFC technology for proof of attendance?
Implementing NFC technology for proof of attendance introduces a range of benefits for both the customer and organisation. Firstly, employers will be able to identify potential attendance issues helping to reduce absenteeism, as well as identify a reduction on costs by reducing paper usage. It provides a full audit of what responsibilities were carried out and who by, as well as helping employers with invoicing purposes.
Benefits of NFC tags and in relation to facilities management:
- Provides evidence that a cleaner has been on site, what they did and how long they spent there. It also improves customer satisfaction as it provides customers with peace of mind that facilities have been cleaned.
- Immediate digital/electronic record of forms instead of having to type up after, reducing the costs of paper usage.
- Instant access to upload photos and record any issues with bathroom facilities as and when they occur such as a broken mirror/window, leak in bathroom.
- Allows you to easily manage stock and identify trends in stock requirements such as how much soap, towels, toilet rolls etc are needed.
- Improves compliance as information is accurately recorded instantly.
- Easy to use solution which employees can use on their own device.
With the introduction of NFC tags and advancements in today’s mobile technology, recording proof of attendance has never been easier. VeriClean from Totalmobile allows your organisation to replace those manual cleaning checklists with NFC tags, simply scan a tag and submit details on the work carried out so you can track and report on work carried out. Cleaning staff can scan the tag to prove their attendance and submit a simple report detailing items cleaned and/or stock refilled. Additionally, should there be any issues with the bathroom that might need someone with specific skills, such as a broken mirror or a water leak, the worker can report the incident. If you’d like further information on VeriClean and how it can benefit your business, please visit our website or download our brochure.