What is NFC technology
In the recent years new standards referring to RFID technology are imposed and among them surely the NFC is important. It is the technology with the radio frequency which allows communication between two devices that are near. They allow the exchange of information or performance of security payment. The designers claim that NFC will simplify to its extreme the way of interaction between the consumers device and guarantee a fast and secure information exchange.
Possible applications are many folded:
- Paying by mobile devices like cell phones
- Credit card integration into a mobile device
- Electronic money integrating with prepaid cards
- Electronic ticketing for transport usage
- Personal electronic document
- Download of data from kiosks such as railway time table
- Flight and hotel booking
- Music and photos download from camera, cell phones, multimedia readers
- Connections P2P (peer to peer) for an easy information transmission between wireless devices
The Near Field Communication Forum (http://www.nfc-forum.org/home) was set up in 2004. It is an industrial no profit association with the aim to standardize, implement and promote the NFC technology. Today the Forum has more then 160 members and is made up of manufacturing firms of developers and financial institutes. In august 2006 it issued the first four official specifications that relate to four initial format tags.
From the technical point of view NFC technology is an extension of ISO 1443 (which defines the standard of RFID tag Mifare at 13,56 Mhz) and both of ECMA and ETSI standard, it combines the integration of one smart card with one device or terminal. All NFC devices allow the reading and writing of information of high speed (424 Kbis/s). NFC connection happens when, so to say, they make a wireless connection which is compatible with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Since the way of function is highly limited it guarantees safe communication avoiding “sniffing” data.
One NFC device can communicate either with already present readers and cards ISO 1443 as well as with other NFC devices. So it is already compatible with the existing infrastructures RFID for payments and public transport. The NFC integration into cell phones and multimedia readers is already being tested, as the iPod can be, which enables buying and transferring of multimedia material.
The first concrete case of investments and NFC applications is delivered by Nokia, the leader firm for the communication in mobility products. Nokia has trusted in NFC technology from the very beginning. On the 22 last April, at the opening WIMA (www.wima-nfc.com) – the annual conference on commercial possibilities and NFC technology development held in Monaco– Nokia presented its third mobile cell phone with NFC technology completely integrated into Nokia 6216 classic.
For the first time such a technology was integrated into the SIM card allowing the cell phone operators to insert NFC services directly into the card itself. Thanks to such a technology costumers will be able to exchange between themselves the contents like pictures, files and data, in a more simple and comfortable way. Besides, NFC technology introduces payments and RFID transactions- all these with a simple touch of cell phone.
For example, the users’ credit card information may be safely kept on SIM card and it will be only enough to pass over the mobile device with the users’ hand in front of RFID terminal in order to access quickly to paying and other simple ticketing services.
Commercializing of Nokia 6216 classic is meant for the last quarter of this year on selected markets including Italy with the selling price of € 150. Taxes and subventions are excluded.
In the last edition of Cartes in Paris (www.cartes.com) – the Fair related to the card technology and the payment systems- the NFC adhesives were presented on that occasion and will be available on markets from 2009. The adhesive is meant for the phones markets to promote massive usage of technology. The adhesive has an antenna, RFID chip and a ferrite layer to protect it from electromagnetic fields. To be able use the NFC it is enough to stick the adhesive onto the cell phone battery.
A market research done by the Internet has shown that two or three interviewed persons would prefer paying directly by cell phone to carrying a wallet or coin purse with themselves. Apart from this, a paying through RFID technology is more practical then by cards- which you have to scrape or they have a little visible chip- simply to say, they often make confusion at paying.
A WORD IN FERMENTATION
The Near Field Communication technology world is in constant fermentation. It is proved by the awarded “NFC Forum Global Competition 2009” held at WIMA in Monaco on the last 24th April. The competition was organized by NFC Forum in order to award the most innovative projects of NFC technology.
At the competition the commercial projects developers had the honor to see that their products were nominated such as “The Best NFC service of the year 2009”, while the projects of researchers were awarded by “The Most Innovative NFC Research Project of the year 2009”. The winners were chosen among the 52 competitors from 21 countries.
The first premium for commercial projects went to Pakistan association which deals with the interactive research and development for “interaction warning of child’s pneumonia”. This is the system which fallows patients within the real time and which is used in the circumstances without a specialist and with little instrumental resources. Presently, the system has been used for the monitoring study of children’s pneumonia in Karachi, Pakistan.
The second awarded participant of commercial projects was German Sevtag for “friendticker.com”, a social community system based on NFC which enables its users to share their present position with friends simply by gentle touch of NFC NFC friendticker in restaurants and bars. The third award went to the Finland’s Nordea for its application “strong- authentication” for application such as home banking on- line which makes possible the entrance by NFC device and a bank card with a double interface.
The first award in research project section was given to Finland’s VVT Technical Research Centre for ”hot in the city”, a social media mobile service which uses NFC mobile phones a connective platform among friends.
In the research project section The Engineering Faculty of Ljubljana University was awarded in the research project section for “ touch to communicate”, a solution to help people who have communication problems to make vocal calls with a simple touch of telephone and a passive tag. The third award went to the Swiss ETH Zurich for “APriori”, a mobile application based on NFC which helps the consumers who have the RFID tag products to make a decision on buying, only by touching the product the NFC device provide the consumer with all information about the valuation of the product (done by other consumers).
The aim of the Competition is the promotion of development and usage of innovative and exemplary NFC services . The commercial projects are ideas meant for a specific market , segment, consumer’s need or wish, But those researching ones are more for Universities academic institutes and university students.