Wednesday, August 10, 2011

“Near Field Communication” (NFC) in Simple Terms

NFC  is a buzz word in Smartphone Industry and it’s important for smartphone user to know what this technology is all about, how easy is to exchange information using this and make life easier.

As the definition goes (from Wikipedia), Near Field Communication (NFC) is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. It allows simplified transactions, data exchange and connections with a touch.

What’s good about this technology is that
  • Intuitive: NFC interactions require no more than a simple touch
  • Versatile: NFC is ideally suited to the broadest range of industries, environments, and Open and standards-based: The underlying layers of NFC technology follow universally implemented ISO, ECMA, and ETSI standards. So, it helps to drive innovation.
  • Technology-enabling: NFC facilitates fast and simple setup of wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.)
  • Inherently secure: NFC transmissions are short range (from a touch to a few centimeters)
  • Interoperable: NFC works with existing contactless card technologies
  • Security-ready: NFC has built-in capabilities to support secure applications
NFC allows sharing, pairing and transactions between NFC enabled devices or devices that have NFC supported cards. Just place back side of both NFC enabled devices facing each other at distance of 4 cm or less and devices will automatically detects and display a message on screen allowing you to share/connect to other device.


Above N-Mark logo show up that devices are NFC-enabled and places where the technology may be used.

NFC is a better, safer and convenient technology over existing wireless communication standards like WiFi & Bluetooth as it requires both NFC enabled devices to be very close to each other for information exchange as well as automatically provides option on screen for user to select and connect.

NFC technology can be implemented by 3 ways in mobile 1) Fully Integrated in mobile handsets 2) On SIM card 3) On MicroSD card.

What kind of applications can be developed using NFC?
  • Mobile Payments/Ticketing – Allows easy payments or buying of tickets for movies, events, retail stores etc by touching at NFC payment terminals at checkout. A PIN number is required.
  • Event Passes – Can be used for Check Ins
  • NFC coupons – Read NFC tags to offer discount coupons to users
  • Information – Read NFC tags to get more information for any products,  contact infos etc
  • Business Card & File Sharing – Instantly share electronic business cards or files
  • Gaming – Pair with other NFC device to play a multiplayer game
  • Social Networking – Sharing personal and location based information over social networks
  • Health Care – Scan patients mobiles for receiving health related statistics e.g. blood pressure, body temperature etc.
  • And many more…

Mobile phones that offer NFC capabilities are Google Nexus S, Nokia C7, Nokia C7-00, Samsung Galaxy SII (selected model), Nokia N9 etc. Here is a list of NFC enabled handsets available at Wikipedia.

It looks like this technology is here to stay!


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