NFC or Near Field Communication – Concept, History, Future Potential, Application, Benefits & moreLast Updated Date: Sep 02, 2023
Today, nearly all smartphones and electronic gadgets are making use of the globally flourishing technology of NFC or Near Field Communication.
Because of the growth of online payment systems and data transfer apps, NFC technology has been rapidly evolving. It helps for the convenience of people worldwide.
About NFC or Near Field Communication
Near Field Communication or NFC is an advanced technology that enables short-range wireless connectivity. It helps in carrying secure two-way interactions between compatible devices.
It does not require any kind of physical contact between the users. Also, it operates within a radius of about four centimeters.
One of the best aspects of this innovation is its ability to work without the use of an internet connection. In that sense, it provides a large degree of inherent security.
A Brief History of NFC
NFC technology uses the fundamentals of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) that was most commonly used by retailers.
They used it to track products within their stores. It is actually a subset of RFID operating on shorter distances for the sake of security.
NFC started to gain steam around 2004 when Nokia, Philips, and Sony came together to create the NFC Forum.
It is a non-profit organization dedicated to offering the services on a global scale.
Although the Forum originated in the year 2004, the evolution took time. It wasn’t until 2006 that the group released a standardized set of NFC tags.
These tags are small sticker-like devices that store information or data. It does so in a manner that can be read easily by an NFC-enabled device.
In February 2006, Nokia released its first NFC-enabled smartphone, the Nokia 6131. Android released its first NFC smartphone, the Samsung Nexus S, in 2010.
The year 2017 saw the launch of OMNY, a new fare payment system in the subways of New York City.
It allows the riders to pay their subway fares with the help of this technology. The tech enables a contactless form of transaction.
It is now a standard feature in almost all kinds of electronic gadgets, and its qualities are still constantly improving.
The most dominant countries using this technology include Europe, Asia, and Japan. The United States of America is seeing rapid growth in its transformation to NFC markets.
Experts estimate that this technology will soon become the most popular form of payment and data exchange in the United States.
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How does NFC Work?
Unlike Bluetooth, it does not require any kind of manual pairing to work. When two or more NFC-enabled devices are in proximity, a wireless connection automatically sets up between the devices.
It basically transmits and receives data via radio waves and functions through the principle of electromagnetic induction.
This technology supports encryption, and the fact that devices must be close to each for communication further strengthens the security of making transactions.
It determines what kind of information exchange can take place between devices. Its Forum currently defines three modes of its operation. These are:
Reader/ Writer Mode – This is a one-way data transmission mode. It enables the devices to read the information on the NFC tags.
Peer to Peer Mode – This mode is the most common use of this tech in smartphones. It enables devices to communicate with each other to transfer files and information.
Card Emulation Mode – This mode enables the devices to function as a contactless credit card. It allows users to make safe transactions in retail stores.
The transmission frequency that allows data exchange through NFC-enabled devices is 13.56 megahertz. One can also send it at either106, 212, or 424 kilobits per second.
That is very quick for swapping pictures and music, or any contact details.
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Applications of Near Field Communication
Currently, numerous applications use NFC technology, especially in areas where short-range communication is a necessity.
The success is because of its ability to operate within a close range and its safety. Technology is consistently evolving to be more efficient.
So, it has also adapted itself to be suitable in various fields of applications. The various applications of this technology include:
NFC-enabled devices play an important role in this colossal shift in payment methods.
With the help of banks and biometric technologies, making payment transactions through smartphones has become extremely simple and convenient.
Since this technology works within a short-range, it does not allow hackers to steal information over large distances.
Hence, it ensures the safety of the customer’s details while making any kind of payment.
Sharing of Files
NFC-enabled devices offer an easy transfer of data and information within minutes. This data can be anything ranging from pictures, videos, or music files.
One can also write their Wi-Fi password to an its tag. Through this, one can instantly access Wi-Fi with just a single tap.
It is also present in speakers, household appliances, or any other electronic gadget that people can monitor using their smartphones.
NFC technology is opening up enormous new possibilities in the field of medicine and healthcare.
It offers greater convenience in fields like in-home monitoring of patients, prescribing medicines, and making payments.
It also helps in identifying and keeping track of staff members, and checking the status of current patients.
The future of NFC in healthcare is very promising. Therefore, big healthcare companies have already started to investing in this tech.
NFC can easily replace the traditional ticketing systems in trains, buses, taxis, and airlines.
Concerned authorities can directly scan the e-tickets through tags. Then direct the passengers to the respective application or the payment method.
Tourist locations like museums, beaches, or any kind of entertainment organization can also benefit from this technology.
Using the tags, they can easily deliver and update information regarding upcoming events and shows.
There are many other applications of NFC, but the most common uses remain in payment cards and mobile phones.
We can also find it in vending machines, ATMs, parking meters, and ticketing.
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Disadvantages of Near Field Communication
NFC is a technology that is highly distinct in the manner of its design from other wireless technologies.
The technologies include Bluetooth and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification). However, there are some drawbacks to this phenomenal technology. These include:
Some users may be interested in trying out this technology. But some companies are not ready to integrate it into their business.
This may be because companies have already-established systems of payment that are highly efficient for them.
Transferring into NFC mode of technology may cost them huge expenses. Sometimes, it may not align with the goals of their organization.
Though the technology is more secure than a credit/debit card system, it not completely risk-free.
As technology advances, evolving tools and techniques will allow hackers to find new methods of stealing information. It can happen from even a short-range.
Professionals estimate that it will take years before the proper implementation of this technology on a global scale.
Studies also show that the power consumption is relatively more in an NFC-enabled device.
This technology is very expensive to set up. Therefore, new businesses do not want to risk investing in this technology.
Compared to this technology, RFID and other electronic identification devices are relatively cheaper since they are less-advanced technologies.
Potential of NFC in the Future
In spite of some disadvantages of NFC technology, it is still constantly evolving. It comes as a common method to make payments or share files.
This technology has a promising future in various fields like banking, travel and tourism, healthcare, and the electronic industry.
Today, this technology is already highly convenient, providing numerous services from just within a tap on your smartphone.
Conclusion – NFC or Near Field Communication
Possibilities are endless within this area. It can be programmed to store a wide range of data. It ranges from product information, contact details, photos, videos, and links to other apps.
Such advantages offer companies the required competitive advantage over other companies. It has qualities like quick to use, easy setup, and cost-effectiveness.
NFC technology is sure to become extremely popular in various fields of technology.
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