Paying for a concert, buying a plane ticket, or even opening your car or office door by just holding your cell phone near another device or wireless terminal is just a dream come true for many of us. I mean, who wants to carry a wallet full of credit/debit cards? This can be done by having a cell phone device equipped with near field communication technology (NFC).
According to iSuppli (now part of IHS, www.ihs.com, a source of information and insight in pivotal areas that shape today’s business landscape, such as energy, economics, etc.), cellular phones with built-in NFC are set to take off this year – promising a boost in the mobile payment business. The company also predicts worldwide shipments of cell phones with NFC to rise to 220.1 million units in 2014 – up four times from 52.6 million in 2010. In addition, iSuppli predicts that in 2014, 13 percent of cell phones shipped will integrate NFC, up from 4.1 percent in 2010.
NFC is basically a short-range wireless communication technology that combines contactless identification and interconnection technologies. It operates at 13.56 MHz and transfers data at up to 424 kbits/s. Wikipedia notes that NFC enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10-cm distance (about 4 inches). Because of its short transmission range, NFC-enabled transactions are considered secure. It was in 2006 when NFC went commercial, see www.eebeat.com/?p=101.
The technology is a simple extension of the ISO/IEC14443 proximity-card standard that combines the interface of a smartcard and a reader into a single device. An NFC device can communicate with both existing ISO/IEC 14443 smartcards and readers, as well as with other NFC devices, and is thereby compatible with existing contactless infrastructure already in use for public transportation and payment. NFC is primarily aimed at usage in mobile phones.
NFC technology will not only benefit in payment transaction and transportation, but we will also see it in healthcare. When a patient’s tag is scanned, the patient’s information will immediately be transferred to the hospital’s or doctor’s office database, enabling faster treatment.
In addition, cell phone game players will be able to initiate a two-player game by just tapping their phones together. At the end of last year, Samsung and Google unveiled Nexus S, the first NFC-enabled handset that runs on Gingerbread, Google’s Android 2.3 platform. Nexus S lets users read information from “smart” tags, or everyday objects (from stickers and movie posters to t-shirts) that are embedded with NFC chips.