NFC (Near Field Communication) is a new mobile phone technology which allows users to share information with a simple tap of a device. NFC builds upon RFID (Radio-frequency identification) which is the non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data
How does it work?
NFC allows establishing peer-to-peer radio communications by passing data from one device to another by touching them or putting them very close together. Earlier systems such as contactless smart cards were one-way only. Earlier we used QR or Barcodes but they were not dynamic and once information stored could not be re-written .NFC was first introduced in Android with Google Nexus, running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, named with a feature called "Android Beam.
It uses the power of NFC (to share MAC Address and IP addresses) and then uses Wi-Fi Direct to share files and documents. The advantage of using Wi-Fi Direct over Bluetooth is that it is much faster than Bluetooth, having a speed of 300Mbit/s for sharing large files. Since unpowered NFC "tags" can also be read by NFC devices, it is also capable of replacing earlier one-way applications.
It operates in two modes:-
- Active Mode: In this mode, both devices are generating their own RF fields. This would be in the case that two mobile devices are being used to exchange data.
- Passive Mode: In this mode, one of the devices generates the RF field and the other device uses the field to power itself and communicate. The active device is usually the “reader” and the passive device is the “tag”.
NFC devices can be used in place of credit /debit cards .Users would be able to pay bills, ticket fares and even use it for food vending machines. Google Wallet allows consumers to store credit card and store loyalty card information in a virtual wallet. This process would become contact less and fast.
- NFC tags can be placed around the museum or shopping malls that allow visitors to instantly ‘follow’, ‘like’, or ‘check-in’ on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare simply by taping their phone to the tag. This is a fantastic way to create inexpensive high quality advertising.
- Imagine a museum with no tour guides, imagine a museum where you don’t need to ask questions or wonder what it is you are looking at
- NFC tags can be used to pay for parking with your phone.
- They can be used to connect your devices to network hassle-free.
- Can be used in window shopping to check information like price without entering the shop
- NFC tags can be placed in your car to activate driving profiles with only one tap.
- The system has the limitation it can be operated only with devices under a short range ie around 10 cm.
- The data transfer rate is very less from 106 kbps to 424 kbps.
But the awesomeness of NFC doesn’t stop here, for more live a day in the life of NFC
For NFC applications , sky is the limit, in the coming few years we would see a revolution around us. From car to our kitchen everything would be inter-connected, NFC would be playing important role in this.