What is Near Field Communication

Near Field Communication (NFC) refers to a wireless technology of connectivity that allows short range exchange of information between electronic devices. The NFC technology is among recent technologies that have caused excitement in the technology and mobile phone market. The technology allows simple transactions, exchange of data, and wireless connections between two devices that are close to each other, in a similar fashion to the Bluetooth application. The NFC technology allows close range transfer of data, usually at a distance of not more than 10 cm. This means that, Near Field Communication can be used to quickly communicate between devices at close range at no cost. The NFC technology is normally included in electronic devices, like mobile phones, in the form of a small chip.

To transfer information between two devices at close range, one just needs to touch or tap the devices together, and a prompt will appear on the screens or monitors asking the user to allow or deny reading or writing of information into the device. This means that a simple touching between NFC enabled devices allows transfer of information between the two devices which is very effective.

The NFC technology has not gone main stream yet and its use has been limited. There are limited types of mobile phones that support this technology; however the adoption of the technology and its integration into smart-phones is expected to go main stream in the next few years. This would result in large scale production of NFC enabled mobile phones, not necessarily for the high end market but affordable to the greater population.

Devices that support Near Field Technology can operate as an RFID, which is short form for Radio Frequency Identification, code scanner. The scanner reads information that is encoded in the form of the RFID tags in places such as newspapers, billboards, posters, banners, and other similar material. For example, if one visits a restaurant and touches the menu card to scan it, one might be presented with a URL to an interactive menu on ones phone, that has detailed descriptions of items on the menu, their rating by other users and, perhaps, even a description of their preparation.

NFC technology also has the potential to substitute cash payments or credit payments with simple phone scan operations. One can accomplish that by storing information from their credit card in their NFC enabled phone. One can then simply touch their phone to a terminal or a reading device in a similar manner to the way one scans their credit card, and complete their payments.

NFC-enabled phones can also be used to exchange data easily, as stated earlier. Business people can exchange their business cards by just tapping their phones, instead of keeping cards which can be lost easily. Furthermore pictures, music, nostalgic videos and other important information can be exchanged in a similar manner. The Near Field Communication technology therefore, has a bright future with many other important applications expected to be incorporated with the technology when it finally goes main stream.