What is near field communication (NFC)?
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless technology that makes your smartphone, tablet, portable devices, payment cards and other devices even smarter. Near field communication is the pinnacle of connectivity. With NFC, you can transfer information between devices quickly and easily with one touch, whether it’s paying bills, exchanging business cards, downloading coupons, or sharing a research document.
How does near field communication work?
Near field communication transmits data via electromagnetic radio fields to allow two devices to communicate with each other. To work, both devices must contain NFC chips, since transactions take place over a very short distance. NFC-compatible devices must be in physical contact or within a few inches of each other for data transfer to occur.
Since the receiving device reads your data the moment you send it, near field communications (NFC) significantly reduce the risk of human error. Rest assured, for example, that you cannot buy something without knowing it because of a pocket dial or by walking past a location built into an NFC chip (called a “smart poster”). With near field communication, you must do something intentionally.
As with any evolving technology, retailers need time to speed up their equipment in order to process NFC transactions; so for now, consumers should always have cash or payment cards.
In fact, even after NFC technology has become universal, users may still need a backup payment method; there is not much you can do with a device with a discharged battery. It remains to be seen whether this would constitute a permanent disadvantage of NFC technology.
Near field communication: history
Near field communication is perhaps best known as the technology that allows consumers to pay retailers and each other with their mobile phones. NFC manages payment services like Google Wallet (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Apple Pay (NASDAQ: AAPL), for example. Although NFC is not currently present in the Amazon Echo (NASDAQ: AMZN), it is a good example of where near-field communications could be useful. Take for example the fact of wanting to pay for a pizza (or whatever) you just ordered through Echo.
Near-field communication technology is rooted in radio frequency identification (RFID), which has been used by retailers for decades to label and track products in stores. Near field communication technology began to gain momentum in 2004 when Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Philips (NYSE: PHG) and Sony (NYSE: SNE) came together to form the NFC Forum, an organization nonprofit that is committed to bringing the convenience of NFC to all aspects of life. In 2006, the Forum officially presented the architecture of NFC technology, the specifications of which continue to provide a roadmap for all interested parties to create powerful new consumer-oriented products.
Nokia launched the first NFC-enabled phone in 2007, and by 2020 the telecommunications industry had launched more than 100 NFC pilot projects. In 2020, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of New York City implemented a system allowing users to pay their metro fares with NFC technology; And the rest, as they say, is history. “
Key points to remember
- Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that allows NFC-enabled devices to communicate with each other.
- NFC started in the payment card industry and is evolving to include applications in many industries around the world.
NFC: beyond the payment process
With its constantly expanding borders, near field communications have a wide variety of uses beyond simplifying and speeding up the payment process. Today, hundreds of millions of contactless cards and readers around the world use NFC technology in a myriad of applications, from securing networks and buildings to monitoring inventory and sales, preventing theft. cars, monitoring library books and operating unmanned toll booths.
The NFC is behind the cards that we act on card readers in metro turnstiles and on buses. It is present in speakers, appliances and other electronic devices that we monitor and control via our smartphones. With a simple touch, NFC can also configure WiFi and Bluetooth devices in all our homes.
NFCs offer short and long term solutions
Near field communications are useful in many industries and have far reaching implications.
- Monitoring patient statistics. NFC opens up new possibilities for home monitoring, as NFC-compatible wristbands can be configured to track patients’ vital signs. The patient taps the bracelet on a smartphone or tablet and their medical data is transmitted to the doctor’s office, where a health professional can check it. With their simple “just touch” instructions, NFC-enabled devices could allow patients of all ages to monitor their health independently.
- Patient care management. Hospital NFC allows medical staff to track where people are and who did what. Staff can know, in real time, where a patient is, the nurse’s last visit, or the treatment a doctor has just administered. NFC-compatible wristbands can replace traditional hospital ID wristbands and can be updated with real-time information, such as when a medication was last administered or what procedure to perform. moment.
In 2020, Japan Airlines (OTCMKTS: JAPSY) became the first commercial airline in the world to allow passengers to touch standard NFC phones through boarding gates instead of paper boarding passes. The customer experience at airports that use NFC technology is greatly improved, as NFC can shorten boarding a plane by 450 people to just 15 minutes, a process that normally takes 40 minutes without the use of NFC.
Hospitality, travel and leisure
In the hotel industry, a hotel can manage access to buildings and rooms centrally in real time, without the need for physical delivery of key cards. Thanks to NFC technology, a hotel can send access rights to a customer’s room directly on their mobile device before their arrival. An NFC docking application can also include other functions, such as booking the room and skipping the registration phase.