Michael and I had an email conversation about some BLE and NFC topics. Michael asked that i repost the relevant parts of the conversation in the forum so everyone can see them. This should be moved to the General Discussion forum eventually, but right now I don't have permission to post there.
I have a few questions I'm wondering if you might have the answers to.
1) Is there any way to read nfc tags in a "long-field" type of approach? I realize that this is not what a standard reader is capable of, but would it be possible to hack together a reader that could, for example, read a small store without having to tap each item?
Well this is a matter of the antenna. If you can create a bigger antenna, you will increase the distance as well. But as I know, there is no collision detection in ISO14443 what is used in NFC. In order to achieve what you are describing you might look at UHf readers and tags instead of HF ones.
2) What is the bandwidth of bluetooth le solutions? Is it feasible to stream large amounts of data through bluetooth le (with the inevitable battery hit)?
This is a very common question. Read about 300kBits somewhere in apple slides of the wwdc2012. Take a look into the slides dealing with CoreBluetooth from WWDC2012.
As this time I'm just using BLE for what it's intended for
3) What are the applications of BLE in payments? Is this a suitable technology for a payments system? Is security baked into the protocol (so snooping isnt possible, for example)?
There is security built in. I think there is AES encryption, but I have not used it yet.
4) How reliable are the proximity features of BLE? Would it be possible to use it for indoor mapping, using the same concepts as GPS-A?
This is a reasearch topic we are now dealing with in the tod project. i started to write the iPhone App, but there are no results to present yet. i was thinking of such an approach already, but due to the lack of time I never implemented something. I donated my BLE Location cells to a school project in Berlin/Germany hoping that they can use them