Near Field Communication – Applications & Opportunities

March 12, 2012 in Technical, Technology Round Table, Tools by Youssef Kassab

NFC LogoNFC is a set of short-range wireless technologies that allow communication and exchange of data between devices by touching or bringing them within a radius of more or less 10 centimeters. NFC is an extension of the RFID technology. It requires 13.56 MHz frequency and has short working range which makes it more suitable for secure communication between devices.

NFC allows a device, usually a mobile phone, to collect data from another device or NFC tag at close range. In many ways, it’s like a contactless payment card that is integrated into a phone. In other ways, it’s similar to Bluetooth, except that instead of programming two devices to work together, they can simply touch to establish a connection. NFC was invented by Sony and NXP Semiconductors in 2002. In 2004 a forum was formed to develop the NFC technology and certify devices compliance with NFC standards. The forum has now more than 140 members including Nokia, Huawei, HTC, Motorola, LG, RIM, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, AT&T, Sprint, Google, Microsoft, Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Intel, Qualcomm and others.

NFC can be used in a wide array of applications, like: Mobile ticketing (such as in public transport); Mobile payment, where the device functions like a credit/debit card; Smart poster, where a mobile phone reads RFID tags on advertisements, for example.

Existing NFC applications include:

  • Google Wallet: it allows consumers to store credit card information in a virtual wallet and then use an NFC-enabled device at terminals that also accept MasterCard PayPass transactions.
  • In 2011 Nokia launched NFC enabled games which are meant to demonstrate how NFC can enable new forms of mobile gaming. Nokia calls the games “tangible” mobile games because of the way they interact with physical objects in the real world using NFC tags.
  • You can already use your NFC-enabled phone to buy train tickets in Tokyo or as a contactless payment system at various retailers.
  • Bump is an application for mobile phones that lets you pair smartphones and transfer contact information or files between 2 devices.

Do you know any other applications of NFC technology? Do you see any opportunities for your businesses? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below and join us to the next Technology Round Table session about the RFID technology.