All about NFC

May 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

What is NFC?
Using a very short range and secure wireless technology called near field communications, or NFC, consumers could pay for things simply by tapping their Smartphone onto a terminal, which reads a user’s credit card, coupon, or loyalty card information.

Why NFC is not as popular as payment method?

There are two main problems with NFC.

1) There’s a hardware problem. Devices need to be equipped with tiny NFC chips. And terminals at the point of sale must also be equipped to read the information from the NFC chips installed in devices.

2) Big problem is that there are still business issues centering around who controls the customer via the NFC technology that’s embedded in the device.

As a result, less than 1 percent of the phones sold today have NFC chips embedded. But Google says it’s making progress on the device front. When Google Wallet first launched, the only device that offered the app was the Google-branded Samsung Galaxy Nexus S. Now there are a total of six devices that support NFC and the Google Wallet app. five of these devices were announced just recently.

Here’s a snap list:

  1.    Sprint Galaxy Nexus, Unlocked Galaxy Nexus
  2.    LG Viper on Sprint
  3.    LG Optimus Elite on Sprint
  4.    LG Optimus Elite on Virgin Mobile
  5.    Nexus S on Sprint

What are the alternatives to NFC?

PayPal, which had been experimenting with NFC payments last year, ditched the short-range wireless technology when it launched its in-store mobile payment solution. Instead, the company has launched a mobile payment app that only requires users to type in a PIN to access their PayPal accounts. So far, it has deployed the service at more than 2,000 Home Depots around the U.S. And it announced on Thursday that it’s adding another 15 retailers.

History of NFC :
1983: The first patent to be associated with the abbreviation RFID was granted to Charles Walton.

2004: Nokia, Philips and Sony established the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum

2006: Initial specifications for NFC Tags

2006: Specification for “SmartPoster” records

2006: Nokia 6131 was the first NFC phone

2009: In January, NFC Forum released Peer-to-Peer standards to transfer contact, URL, initiate Bluetooth, etc.

2010: Samsung Nexus S: First Android NFC phone shown

2011: Google I/O “How to NFC” demonstrates NFC to initiate a game and to share a contact, URL, app, video, etc.

2011:  NFC support becomes part of the Symbian mobile operating system with the release of Symbian Anna version.

2011: RIM 2011 is the first company for its devices to be certified by MasterCard Worldwide, the functionality of PayPass

2012:  March. EAT a well known UK restaurant chain and Everything Everywhere (Orange Mobile Network Operator) partner on the UK’s first nationwide NFC enabled smartposter campaign. (Lead by Rene’ Batsford, Head of ICT for EAT, also known for deploying the UK’s first nationwide contactless payment solution in 2008) A specially created mobile phone app is triggered when the NFC enabled mobile phone comes into contact with the smartposter.
Source – Wiki

Other usage of NFC:

1) Transportation:
NFC works with most contactless smart cards and readers, meaning it could easily be integrated into the public transit payment systems in cities that already use a smart card swipe. In 2008, German rail operator Deutsche Bahn launched an NFC-ticketing pilot program in which 200 travelers touched their phones to an NFC tag when they boarded the train and then to another when they got off. The fare was calculated and added to their monthly bill. In January 2010, the successful program was expanded to an additional 3,000 travelers. Madrid plans to start a similar pilot program with its bus system in 2010.

2) Here is the video which will help you understanding how the NFC works. Source – MIT

Link: Video

Several hundred NFC trials have been conducted to date. While NFC trials continue, some firms have moved to full-scale service deployments, spanning either a single country or multiple countries. As a consequence, programs listed below date from 2010 forward and are cited for ease-of-reference. Programs were updated through April 2011. Multi-country deployments include:
Multiple European countries: Orange and operators, banks, retailers, transport, and service providers.
Africa: Airtel Africa, Oberthur Technologies

Denmark had a Public event Roskilde Festival, Danmark: NFC, 140.000 visitors, Here how it worked
Link: Denmark NFC in Action


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