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Near Field Communication (NFC) is a set of short-range wireless communication technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4cm or less to initiate a connection. NFC allows you to share small payloads of data between an NFC tag and a NFC-powered device, or between two NFC-powered devices.

It allows users to seamlessly share content between digital devices, pay bills wirelessly or even use their cellphone as an electronic traveling ticket on existing contactless infrastructure already in use for public transportation.

The significant advantage of NFC over Bluetooth is the shorter set-up time. Instead of performing manual configurations to identify Bluetooth devices, the connection between two NFC devices is established at once (under a 1/10 second).

Due to its shorter range, NFC provides a higher degree of security than Bluetooth and makes NFC suitable for crowded areas where correlating a signal with its transmitting physical device (and by extension, its user) might otherwise prove impossible.

NFC can also work when one of the devices is not powered by a battery (e.g. on a phone that may be turned off, a contactless smart credit card, etc.).

Standards

NFC was approved as an ISO/IEC standard on December 8, 2003 and later as an ECMA standard.

NFC is an open platform technology standardized in ECMA-340 and ISO/IEC 18092. These standards specify the modulation schemes, coding, transfer speeds and frame format of the RF interface of NFC devices, as well as initialization schemes and conditions required for data collision-control during initialization for both passive and active NFC modes. Furthermore, they also define the transport protocol, including protocol activation and data-exchange methods. The air interface for NFC is standardized in:

  • ISO/IEC 18092 / ECMA-340
    Near Field Communication Interface and Protocol-1 (NFCIP-1)
  • ISO/IEC 21481 / ECMA-352
    Near Field Communication Interface and Protocol-2 (NFCIP-2)

NFC incorporates a variety of existing standards including ISO/IEC 14443 both Type A and Type B, and FeliCa.


Application Area
Public transport
 Mobile payments
NFC Access Control
NFC social board game
Mobile payment vending machines
  Health care
Field service
Event ticketing
Museum services
Mobile workforce management
Health insurance card
Contact less payment cards
Employee payments