What is NFC?
- Short form of “Near Field Communication”
- Short range wireless RFID technology
- Jointly developed by Philips and Sony, the standard specifies a way for the devices to establish a peer-to-peer
- Enables convenient short-range communication between electronic devices
- Makes use of interacting electromagnetic radio fields instead of the typical direct radio transmissions used by technologies such as Bluetooth.
- Wireless connections between two devices in close proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimetres. (Operating distance typical up to 10 cm)
- Data exchange rate today up to 424 kilobits/s
- NFC uses loosely coupled inductive circuits to exchange power and/or data over a short distance
- ECMA, and
- Nokia released the first commercial version of an NFC-enabled phone in 2007
Categories of NFC Applications
Touch and Go:
Applications such as access control or transport/event ticketing, where the user needs only to bring the device storing the ticket or access code close to the reader. Also, for simple data capture applications, such as picking up an Internet URL from a smart label on a poster.
Touch and Confirm
Applications such as mobile payment where the user has to confirm the interaction by entering a password or just accepting the transaction.
Touch and Connect
Linking two NFC-enabled devices to enable peer to peer transfer of data such as downloading music, exchanging images or synchronizing address books.
Touch and Explore
NFC devices may offer more than one possible function. The consumer will be able to explore a device’s capabilities to find out which functionalities and services are offered.
How can we use it?
Here are some examples of how NFC can be used:
- You could take pictures with a cell phone with a built in camera, and touch an enabled computer or television set to transmit the images for display;
- You could download applications or games to a handheld device by touching the computer;
- In conjunction with another wireless technology, you could transfer large files between two devices, such as a laptop and a desktop, simply by touching the two together.
- It reads information embedded in the form of RFID tags in media such as posters, billboards, brochures, leaflets, menus and other such material. For instance, if you visit a restaurant and scan the menu card by touching your phone or tablet to it, you may be presented with the link to an interactive, animated menu on your phone, with detailed descriptions of menu items, their reviews by other users and, perhaps, even videos of their preparation.
- With NFC, you can easily bring devices together to be automatically prompted to initiate Bluetooth pairing by a tap on each screen. Otherwise, pairing two Bluetooth devices involves navigating menus to enable Bluetooth, scan for a device, initiate pairing and then enter the pass code on each device.
- Meant for applications where a physical touch, or close to it, is required in order to maintain security.
Contact-less payment: Several projects give a 100% success for use of NFC in payment systems. Also MasterCard and Visa are also the members of NFC-forum and take parts in the pilot programs. Shoppers who have their credit card information stored in their NFC smart phones can pay for purchases by waving their smart phones near or tapping them on the reader, rather than using the actual credit card.
- Transportation: As it is a near field communication it will surely adopted by smart cards and readers which mean it will be integrated in the public transits.
- Health Care: If you think it has no use in Health Care then just think holding a device or bracelet having NFC tag near a receiver Doctor can get the Idea about which treatment patient got before coming here and every-time the data is added to the database.
- Social Media: No doubt that NFC can bring all the new definitions to the social media where your gadget will store all the details about your social life and you can just share it with friends. For example you just visited a place having NFC tag, you just put your device near it. Then your phone will automatically post a status that “I just visited a place” or you just meet someone then it will post “I just visited so and so.”
Before Foursquare took off, a German company called Servtag was working towards a similar concept for NFC-enabled phones called Friendticker. The company applied more than 250 NFC-tag stickers at various locations in Berlin that users would swipe their phones past in order to alert their friends that they were “checked in” at that location.
- Smart Objects
- Matching encrypted security code and transporting access key;
- Due to short transmission range, NFC-based transactions are possibly secure
Benefits & Features
- Not restricted to 1-to-1 communication
- Multiple devices in a small area can communicate with each other using the same frequency.
- Maximum transfer bit rate of 800kbps.
- No special software is required.
- Operation at a frequency of 13.5 MHz
- No ethical concerns due to range
Problems with NFC
- With the right antenna, hardware and software, it’s possible to snoop on transactions.
- Defining exactly how far away an eavesdropper can be isn’t easy. It relies on several factors, including whether the information is being sent in active or passive mode, the type of antenna and receiver the eavesdropper is using and how much power the active component pours into the transmission.
- It’s harder to detect transmissions from passive components. Even so, an eavesdropper could detect signals from about a meter away with the right equipment.
- Another potential problem with NFC is that someone could attempt to disrupt communications by broadcasting radio signals in the NFC spectrum during transactions.
To prevent someone from getting valuable data — including your financial information — hardware and software manufacturers use encryption to keep valuable information away from prying eyes. With encryption, both components need a specific type of key to decrypt information into something useful. An outsider without access to the key would only see gibberish.
Here is a list of NFC enabled handsets:
1. Google Nexus S
2. BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930
3. Nokia C7
4. Samsung Galaxy SII(only comes with NFC in Korea.)
5. Blackberry Curve 9350, 9360 and 9370
6. Huawei Sonic a.k.a Turkcell T20 in Turkey
7. Samsung Wave 578
8. HTC Ruby (The phone is said to be made available from October 12 from T-Mobile in the US.)
9. Nokia N9
10. LG T530(available in France as the ‘LG Ego’)
11. Nokia 701
12. Nokia 700
13. Nokia 600
14. Sonim XP1301 Core NFC
15. Mobiwire Cosyphone
16. Samsung S5230 NFC
17. Samsung S5260 NFC
18. Sky Vega Racer from Pantech
The difficulty with bringing it to market is that you need to have an entire set of stakeholders who are all aligned. No boom, until now, when Google became interested in implementing secure transactions, including mobile payments, on their platforms. Google announced in December that our NFC would be integrated in the reference platforms for Android’s latest versions. This will make the software development community around the world to develop applications using NFC.
Comparison of Short-range Communication
- How to use Near Field Communication (NFC) for Business (bizblog.blackberry.com)