Near-field communication (NFC) technology has been around for a while now. In the past, it was mainly used in transit systems, such as public transport ticketing and electronic payment. But today, NFC is being used for a much more comprehensive range of applications, including wearable technology and smartphone payments.
This article aims to give you a brief introduction to near-field communication technology and its wide-ranging applications.
- Near-field communication is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that allows NFC-enabled devices to communicate with each other.
- NFC technology is based on radio-frequency identification (RFID).
- Near-field communication began in the payment card industry and is evolving into a technology used in numerous industries worldwide.
What Is Near-Field Communication?
NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few centimetres.
NFC-enabled devices can read data from each other or use it to communicate with tags or smart posters, commonly using a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection to connect to the Internet.
History of NFC
For decades, merchants have used radio-frequency identification (RFID) to identify and monitor merchandise within stores. Near-field communication technology is based on it.
In 2004, corporations like Nokia, Sony, and Philips came together to form the NFC forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing NFC technology’s ease to all parts of life.
Why Is Near Field Communication Used?
NFC is a set of communication protocols that enable two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device such as a smartphone, to establish communication by bringing them within 4 cm (1.6 in) of each other. NFC technology enables the wireless exchange of data between devices.
For example, contact information or URLs, using NFC-enabled smartphones or tablets. Therefore, it is used to enable users to conduct secure transactions, share digital content, and connect electronic devices with a touch. NFC transmissions have a short range and require devices to be in close proximity.
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What Devices Support NFC?
Near field communication can now be supported by smartphones, tablets, wristwatches, and smart cards. The innovations that have taken place in the NFC industry since 2004 have continuously seen improvement in sharing data and files.
Near-field communication technology is a new technology that allows people to transfer data between devices. This can be done using a simple tap or swipe of the device. The data transferred can include contact information, music and video files, text messages, and more.
Near Field Communication Example
NFCs are everywhere, including the items you use every day. For example, your phone is an NFC. An NFC can be placed on anything you want to access with a tap of another device or even another person’s hand.
It is a part of the set of standards known as RFID (radio-frequency identification). It uses similar radio frequencies to communicate with another device, which is why it’s sometimes called RFID. This allows you to connect smartphones, tablets, credit cards, and more to share contact information or photos easily, pay bills, or shop.
Take a look at Amazon’s latest invention. They are using NFCs for people to shop. You just need to walk into their store with a phone, of course, that has an Amazon app. You just need to pick anything you want to shop and walk out, and everything you buy gets charged directly to your account. If you change your mind on a certain item, you wouldn’t have to worry about that because immediately the item gets back on the shelf, your checkout gets updated. No ques and less time is spent on shopping. It was dubbed the cashier-less store.
How Is NFC Used in Banks?
In recent years, many banks have been heavily investing in the implementation of new technologies. In particular, near-field communication technology has been a popular choice among banks because it offers a convenient way to pay for goods and services. However, even though this technology offers a more streamlined process for consumers, it also requires a large amount of planning from the bank’s IT department.
Furthermore, it is used for mobile payments and authentication, allowing users to pay for items with their smartphones at retail locations or log into secure areas. Banks can benefit from the use of NFC by offering consumers faster and more secure ways to conduct financial transactions.
How Is NFC Used in Healthcare?
Near-field communication technology is used in the healthcare industry to improve the quality of patient care. This technology enables safe and secured data exchange between medical devices or between a medical device and a healthcare practitioner’s mobile phone/tablet.
NFC-enabled medical devices send information via tags placed on patients’ bodies, including vital signs readings, medications, allergies, etc. These data are transmitted to the central system for further analysis and possible recommendation of actions via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
How Is NFC Used in Airlines?
Japan was the first to integrate the use of NFC with airlines, making the onboarding of passengers was more efficient. The first time Japan incorporated the use of Near-field communication in passport and tickets checks, they recorded a decrease in time spent in confirming travel documents by 66%. A plane carrying 450 people only spent 15 minutes for people to board the plane. Previously, the same exercise would take up to 45 minutes.
How Is NFC Used in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure?
For hospitality, travel and leisure brands to stay relevant in today’s digital world, they need to develop innovative ways of engaging with their customers. NFC technology is one way they can do this by providing an interactive experience that will keep the consumer engaged.
It also offers a new way for consumers to connect with your brand. Moreover, it can also be used when customers check-in and out of hotels, planes, or even leisure areas like film theatres and parks.
What Is a Near-Field Communication Chip?
NFC chip is an electronic chip that can be used in smartphones or any device to enable the same kind of communication. Therefore, they work by tapping into each other or bringing them to close proximity.
If one is making payments using NFC chips, they communicate with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few centimetres. This technology allows you to share your Android content with others and even use your device to control other devices.
What Is a NFC Tag?
Near field communication tags enable you to carry out a variety of data-related operations. At a shop, for instance, you may use an NFC tag to hold information on various items. Each tag has a unique function that allows you to utilize it for various activities. NFC presently supports five different tag kinds.
This tag is a type of smart label that an NFC-enabled smartphone can read. It consists of a chip and antenna. Moreover, it may store text or contain URLs and interact with other devices or apps that support the kind of interaction the NFC tag represents. The most common example is tapping your phone on another phone to establish a Bluetooth connection.
NFC tags are ubiquitous in Japan, where they are used to make payments at vending machines and elsewhere
Five Types of Tags Used in NFC
- Type 1 tags: They are used for mobile payment and other applications that require simple data storage. NFC Tags can be read by smartphones equipped with NFC technology. Their most common use is as follows, connecting Bluetooth devices, and is used in read-only applications.
- Type 2 tags: This type is faster compared to type 1 in terms of transactions. It offers a variety of services like processing event tickets, daily transit tickets, low-value transaction, and URL redirects.
- Type 3 tags: NFC type 3 tags are capable of storing data and transmitting it to an NFC enabled device. NFCs can use them for various purposes: retail, public transportation, electronic ID, membership cards, E-tickets, home electronics and health care devices.
- Type 4 tags: Type 4 tag has the greatest versatility and memory. It ranges in price from modest to expensive, depending on how much memory you acquire. The most compelling reason to purchase this tag is security: it provides the capabilities required for real authentication. It supports ISO 7816 security.
- Type 5 tags: Type 5 tags support ISO 15693 in security classification. One can use it to keep records of books in a library, ticketing and medical packaging.
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Safety Risks of Near Field Communication
Though the benefits of this technology seem clear, there remain some security risks associated with it. The biggest challenge is that your data or transaction details can be hijacked by anyone when trying to make transactions.
On the other hand, every technology comes with its fair share of challenges. Like cyberattackers coming up with fake NFC apps that impersonate existing apps. Or companies making people lose their data and information to con artists.
Benefits of Near Field Communication
- NFC has fostered contactless data transfer that is simple and rapid.
- People may now effortlessly go from one location to another with minimal effort.
- Installing and enhancing the system is simple.
- It has already been applied in various sectors and has the ability to adapt to any industry.
- It has also improved networking and social sharing by allowing users to effortlessly share contacts and business cards with just a tap.
NFC Trends and Anticipated Growth
Near-field communication is an exciting, cutting-edge technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we do business. It’s virtually on par with RFID technology in terms of functionality, but it has certain advantages over RFID.
New technologies don’t just bring new capabilities to the table; they also change how we approach life. This is exactly what near-field communication technology has done for us. It has changed the way we spend money and shop.
No matter whether it’s a retail store or online shopping portal that you’re dealing with. As soon as inventors introduced NFC into our lives, retailers realized how much more convenient it would be for their customers if all they had to do were tap their phones on a secure element-based card emulation.
Where Does the NFC Go Next?
When it comes to mobile payments, Apple has their ApplePay, and Google has their GoogleWallet. The near-field communication technology is the foundation for both of these services.
But other companies are looking to get in on this lucrative market. As soon as the security challenges that NFC is facing are eradicated, more and more companies may invest in this type of technology.
NFC is a technology that has greatly enhanced the way payments are made and what we can expect for the future of this industry. As more users adopt this payment method, businesses will be able to reap greater benefits in return.
NFC technology is still at its nascent stage with huge untapped potential. With the expected growth in smartphones, the demand for NFC enabled services will only grow.
NFC is a fast, wireless data transfer method that does not require an internet connection. It recognizes and communicates with electronics in the near vicinity. Compatibility is a must for these two devices.
To check whether your phone supports NFC, head over to the settings, check on connectivity options and see if you have an NFC option on the list.
Like any other connectivity service, Bluetooth or Wifi, you have to turn on NFC in order to use it. If you don’t want to use NFC, you should turn it off to save battery and avoid potential security risks. Although NFC is considered secure, some security experts advise turning it off in public places where it could be vulnerable to hackers.
NFC transactions are considered safer than the traditional methods of swiping cards to the point of sale devices. Companies developing these products have used tokenization and encryption to secure their client’s data in a move to improve security.