Near-field communication (NFC) technology is getting a lot of hype and coverage recently. All because of its inclusion in Google Nexus A and rumored presence in iPhone 5. According to juniper Research by 2014 one in five smartphones will feature NFC. This kind of forecast shows, NFC is kind of big deal. But the point still remains the same. What is NFC or Near field communication technology?
What is Near Field Communication (NFC)?
First of all you must know that NFC is not a new technology. It has been evolved from RFID or Radio frequency identification technology. NFC extended the concept of RFID and that is why has been into discussion by NFC Forum. As per Wikipedia:
Near field communication, or NFC, is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 848 kbit/s. NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries. NFC peer-to-peer communication is of course possible, where both devices are powered.
Uses of NFC
There are 3 major uses of NFC:
- Sharing (reader/writer): One NFC compatible device will act as reader and the other one as writer. Since reader will be powered; it will produce a radio frequency (RF) field which will activate the writer. The RF field is capable enough to power the NFC capability of the writer.
Debbie Arnold, the director of NFC forum calls small RF tags as Smart Poster. According to him, they can be embedded almost anywhere. For e.g. a prescription bottle can have such smart poster on the label to convey safety and usage information.
- Pairing (peer to peer): Two NFC powered devices can transfer data just like Bluetooth. Although NFC range would be more limited and it will be quite slower than Bluetooth but still power consumption will be less.
- Transactions (card emulation): NFC devices would be very useful for contactless payments. Barclay already uses debit cards with the name of “contactless technology” built in conjunction with VISA. It enables its customers to pay for items costing less than £15 by placing their card or near a payment pad.
With due course of time, use of NFC will increase and maybe we would come to know something more interesting about it by then.