Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards to communicate NFC devices on radio frequency by bringing them into close proximity (usually less than 5 centimeters). Since communication would be based on radio frequency, therefore scope, use cases and security consideration are different from other radio based interface such as Bluetooth.
Fig: NFC compare to other communication
It make people’s lives easier by accessing new media and contents services more intuitive, make it easier to pay, easier to share information, and easier to use transport and other public services.
NFC’s bidirectional communication ability is ideal for establishing connections with other technologies by the simplicity of touch. For example if the user wants to connect their mobile device to their stereo to play media, they can simply touch the device to the stereo’s NFC touch point and the devices will negotiate the best wireless technology to use.
What does this mean for the end user? Easy connections, quick transactions, and simple data sharing.
The key initial applications for NFC technology fall into three categories:
• Machine-To-Machine: NFC is used to enable communication between two devices
• Payment & Ticketing: NFC will build on the emerging smart ticketing and electronic payment infrastructures
• Service Initiation: NFC is used to perform service discovery or to ‘unlock’ another service (such as opening another communication link for data transfer).
NFC could be used to setup local communication between two devices for small amount of information (up to few KB).
e.g. printing photo straight from mobile to printer, sharing photo from mobile to smart TV etc.
Fig: Taking picture and sharing to TV
Fig: Sharing data from mobile to mobile
Payment & Ticketing
Payment & Ticketing was one of the drivers for the creation of NFC standard. NFC-enabled payments are much easier and less costly for the credit card merchant than cash and other traditional payment method. Initially, NFC-enabled devices are likely to be used for low-fraud, limited-value payment situations, such as quick-serve restaurants, kiosks, vending machines and parking meters.
Touch&Travel is an NFC-based ticketing pilot project jointly conducted by Deutsche Bahn, the German rail authority, and its partners Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and O2 Germany, with support from industry as well as local transport companies
The illustration below gives an overview of the Touch&Travel system’s operation.
1. 1. Currently close to 50 million NFC enabled handsets are sold across to world which is less than 5% of the handset market. However, the NFC enabled devices are expected to increase at least ten folds over the current level (Refer the forecast below)
2. 2. The forecasts from different analyst firms vary a lot on the NFC device projections but all agree that it would be significant by 2015.