Near Field Communication (NFC) Technology


Near Field Communication is a technology that allows close range connection between devices, usually mobile phone devices. The technology allows close range collection of data from another device or an NFC tag. It makes life easier for worldwide consumers by simplifying transactions and digital content exchange through connection of electronic devices by just a touch. NFC behaves like a contactless payment card that is inbuilt into a phone. It also operates in a similar manner to Bluetooth but instead of programming two devices to connect with each other, a simple touch establishes connection.


NFC technology has several benefits which include; quick interactions via a simple touch, secure services due to the small range of distance within which the technology operates and versatility. The short range of distance for NFC connection makes the technology a good choice for secure transactions like contactless payment through credit cards. In recognition of this security property, credit card companies like MasterCard and Visa have embraced the NFC technology. MasterCard introduced the PayPass program while Visa introduced the PayWave program through which phones can just touch and complete transactions.


Apart from the credit card companies, other companies have embraced the technology. MoLo Rewards launched a coupon program where consumers can use a site to download coupons which they can then exchange by having their mobile phones swiped at the purchase point. Through this program the consumers can track their coupons and know to whom they are sent to and how they are used. Due to limited NFC enabled phones in the United States, MoLo Rewards provided radio frequency identification (RFID) tags which are attachable to the back of the phone enabling the phone to behave like an NFC enabled phone.


The NFC technology is compatible with numerous smart cards and readers. This means that the technology can be integrated easily into the public transport systems of payment in the cities that have existent smart card swipes. For example, Deutsche Bahn, a German rail operator launched an experimental ticketing program in which some 200 rail travelers touched their mobile phones to an NFC tag when boarding the train and yet again when alighting. The fare was then calculated and sent to them on their monthly bill.


The NFC technology is also applicable in the health sector. NFC tags can provide health professionals with information on what treatments a patients should receive and keep track on when nurses and doctors check on a patient. By scanning the tag every time the medical professional check on a patient, the information gets stored in a database where it can be accessed to provide details of when and what medication was given to a patient.


The technology can also be applicable in schools where it can make transmission of information easier. For example, students can get daily timetables, announcements, assignments and other school communications by just waving their phones past NFC tags. Applications of the NFC tags, therefore, cut across various fields and popularity of the technology is bound to cause increased manufacture of NFC enabled mobile handsets.