Near Field Communication (NFC) technology makes life easier and more convenient for consumers around the world by making it simpler to make transactions, exchange digital content, and connect electronic devices with a touch. A standards-based connectivity technology, NFC harmonizes today's diverse contactless technologies, enabling current and future solutions in areas such as:
- Loyalty and coupons
- Access control
- Information collection and exchange
- Consumer electronics
Key Benefits of NFC
NFC provides a range of benefits to consumers and businesses, such as:
- Intuitive: NFC interactions require no more than a simple touch
- Versatile: NFC is ideally suited to the broadest range of industries, environments, and uses
- Open and standards-based: The underlying layers of NFC technology follow universally implemented ISO, ECMA, and ETSI standards
- Technology-enabling: NFC facilitates fast and simple setup of wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi
- 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
How will NFC technology make business easier?
NFC technology provides simplicity and ease of use. Users hold NFC-enabled devices and tags in close proximity to each other to access services, interact with content, set up connections, make a payment, or present a ticket.
Many corporations use contactless ID cards to control access to their facilities and networks. NFC technology can reduce the cost of card issuance and management. NFC-enabled devices can also simplify login to enterprise networks.
As NFC technology penetrates throughout the office, we will see WLAN settings, printer IDs, and building maps picked up by NFC-enabled devices, allowing mobile workers to work in any office location.
NFC can also provide a convenient and affordable way to track, monitor and provide instructions to remote workers, such as field service representatives, home healthcare providers, maintenance workers and construction teams.
How long is NFC expected to be valued by the market?
NFC is based on existing contactless infrastructure already in use by millions of people around the world. NFC is a technology that makes peoples' lives easier – easier to pay for goods and services, easier to use public transport, and easier to share data between devices for any purpose. Once consumers experience NFC's touch paradigm, they are unlikely to give it up.
What are the commercial drivers for NFC technology?
NFC technology makes sense for service providers and device manufacturers for many reasons, including:
- Reduced cost of electronic issuance: Multi-issue ticketing operators, such as mass transport operators and event ticketing operators, can achieve remarkable cost reductions using NFC-based electronic ticketing. Security-sensitive airlines have already moved to "e-ticketing" in order to reduce costs, and several are now allowing passengers to use their NFC-enabled devices instead of paper boarding passes.
- Increased revenue from interactive services: Mobile network operators and content providers earn revenue when users choose to use value-added services. NFC can be used to surround the consumer with advertisements and can place valuable information within easy reach.
- NFC-enabled devices drive consumption of rich media content. NFC will fuel the market for advanced personal devices that consumers use to purchase, play, store, and share rich media content.
- Consumer preference for NFC-enabled services. Users may have no choice about which ticket they use for a service, but they typically can choose how they pay. Convenience is a strong differentiator, and more convenient payment is driving adoption of contactless and NFC technology.
- Innovative applications possible only via NFC technology. NFC technology is inspiring inventors and entrepreneurs to develop creative products and services that would not be feasible otherwise, such as social media, fitness and health, and cloud-based use cases, resulting in brand new markets.
NFC as Technology Enabler
NFC creates a new and universal interface to existing devices through simple touch interaction. NFC bridges gaps between existing technologies and devices to enable new applications/services (enabling connections from real to virtual, connections to physical/real world).
NFC Means Proximity
All NFC transactions take place within a very small area, anywhere from a touch to 4 centimeters. This means that you can't unknowingly purchase something because you walk next to a smart poster.
NFC Enables One-Touch Setup of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
NFC is able to replace the pairing of Bluetooth-enabled devices, or the configuration of a Wi-Fi network through PINs and keys, by simply touching the two devices to be paired or connected to the network, or by touching the device to a tag. The gain in simplicity of use is substantial while the level of confidence is exactly similar.
NFC Devices Enable Data Exchange
NFC enables users to quickly and easily transfer information between devices with a simple touch. Whether it be an exchange of business cards, a quick transaction, or downloading a coupon, the proximity ensures that the information shared is the information you want to share.
- Frequency: 13.56 MHz
- Data Rate: 106kbps, 212kbps, 424kbps
- Range: 3cm-4cm
- Set-up time: < 0.1 s
- Power consumption: < 15mA (read)
Difference between a card and a tag?
A card and a tag are technically the same, with variations in form factor. However, contactless cards used in ticketing and payment today include additional technology to store secure data.
NFC technology is acknowledged by:
NFC standards are acknowledged by ISO/IEC (International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission), ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), and ECMA (European association for standardizing information and communication systems).
Unique operating modes of NFC devices
In Peer-to-Peer mode, two NFC devices can exchange data. For example, you can share Bluetooth or WiFi link set-up parameters or you can exchange data such as virtual business cards or digital photos.
In reader/writer mode, the NFC device is capable of reading NFC tags, such as a tag embedded in an NFC smart poster.
In Card Emulation mode, the NFC device appears to an external reader much the same as a traditional contactless smart card. This enables contactless payments and ticketing by NFC devices without changing the existing infrastructure.