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What is Near Field Communications?

Near Field Communications has been hyped as this generations technology that has been starting to catch on in main stream society over the last three years. Near Field Communications has been coming up on the commercial market for almost a decade now, but has only gained traction in Japan and Europe up to this point. It has started to gain steam here in North America as the technology expands to cover more and more aspects of the electronic market. Market analysts are predicting over 30% of all smart phones across the globe will have NFC chips embedded in them by 2015. This is mainly due to the fact NFC technology provides contactless payment. Additional benefits that range from helping out the medical community, security, along with information collection and exchange are being taken advantage of as well.
What is Near Field Communications?
Near Field Communications has been around the market for almost a decade now. It is a variation of RFID technology that uses radio frequency communications to interact with other NFC devices by bringing them with-in close contact of each other to exchange information and data. It helps make life easier for businesses and consumers by making transactions, digital content exchange, in addition to connecting with electronic devices by delivering a standardized contactless technology that everyone can use.

The NFC chip acts as an antenna that interacts with another device once it is brought into close proximity. The technology allows for devices such as smart phones to host applications that help store and interchange data between devices when a user wants to provide information. The NFC tags that transmit information are read only chips. This ensures that users only get data from other NFC chips without transferring data from their chips.
What are the Benefits of NFC?
The ease of use that NFC provides with contactless payment systems has helped it to become one of the players for data transfer technology on the market today. It is predicted over the next few years that more smart phones and other mobile devices will be shipping with NFC capabilities as the consumer market catches onto the idea of contactless data transfer and multiple card storage on one device.

Storage – NFC technology can store credit card information that allows users to be able to leave their cards at home and carry the information for everything on one device. This can also be used on store gift cards, coupons, and even movie tickets. The NFC chips act as passive devices and do not interact with other devices that are not in close enough proximity unless they are prompted to do so by the user. This eliminates any potential problems with accidental purchases or data transfer.

Security – NFC Technology also provides added security compared to carrying around items in a wallet that can be stolen and used almost instantly. The software that interacts with NFC technology allows users to set-up security passwords to help ensure that no one else can use the information if a device is lost. It also sets up an encrypted channel while exchanging information between devices so no other device can leech information off of it.
NFC Technology in current use today

Card Emulation Mode – This acts as a users credit card by storing all the data that needs to be transferred between purchases. A smart phone becomes the users instrument for making day to day transactions.
Reader Mode – Movie theaters and other businesses can benefit from reader mode in multiple ways. The reader mode option gives a potential customer the ability to swipe a movie poster that has a passive RFID tag on it. This will prompt the users device to start playing a trailer of the movie to see if they might want to go see it. This application can also save time for food and vending machine purchases.
Peer-to-Peer Mode – Peer-to-Peer offers users the ability to interact with another users device such as switching data from one person’s phone onto another one. This gives a wide range of options from being able to pay for transactions on mobile food vehicles or being able to play co-op missions on mobile games.

Business Applications for NFC
Japan and Europe have already implemented NFC technology for mass transit purposes. The ability to swipe a card while paying for a subway ticket helps traffic flow in an orderly fashion to help prevent congestion. Other benefits in the business sector include the ability to go paperless with coupons, save and monitor patients health, or set-up mobile games at tables for a restaurant.

Health and Fitness – With NFC technology doctors will be able to give patients fitness programs they can fill-out and upload to let them track their progress as they recover. Hospitals also have the ability to swipe patients wrist bands to track medications, which cuts down on the possibility of any errors happening.
Mobile Tickets – The technology will provide consumers with the ability to purchase plane, train, along with mass bus transit tickets for a less time consuming process than having customers wait in line.
Video and Conference Calls – Managers can connect with employee’s by using NFC to load Bluetooth and other tools onto devices for video and conference calls.

Multiple companies are pairing up to start integrating NFC technology into mobile devices over the coming months. This will allow businesses to enhance applications to help process consumer purchases faster. This allows businesses to make more money by being able to process more customers in a timely manner. The technology is easy to use and prevents errors by making sure contact payments have to be made with-in a certain range, along with providing security measures to ensure data is not stolen or misused. NFC is introducing innovative new features that will make life easier and more convenient for everyone with a swipe of a device.

To learn more about NFC, RFID, and its functionality, go to

Image cc Flickr via vernieman