ABOUT NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION
The intuitive link between consumer devices
Just as you would walk across a room full of people to have a private conversation with
someone, rather than shouting across it so that everyone could hear, Near Field Communication
(NFC) uses the same principle to link electronic devices. It enables the user to exchange all kinds
of information, in security, simply by bringing two devices close together. Its short-range
interaction over a few centimeters greatly simplifies the whole issue of identification, as there is
less confusion when devices can only "hear" their immediate neighbors.
Evolving from a combination of contactless identification (RFID) and interconnection
technologies, NFC technology bridges today’s connectivity gap. It enables the simple transfer of
information -- from phone numbers to electronic transactions -- and allows people to interact with
their environment without needing to navigate complicated menus or perform complex set-up
NFC opens up myriad new opportunities for our consumer lifestyles. It will enable people to
effortlessly connect digital cameras, PDAs, set-top boxes, computers and mobile phones. With
NFC it is possible to connect any two devices to each other to exchange information or access
content and services – easily and securely.
Imagine seeing a poster advertising a concert with your favorite band. By flashing your
mobile phone or PDA near the poster you download information about the event from a smart chip
in the poster. After finding out more about the concert, you can immediately buy tickets and store
them electronically on your handheld device. On the night of the concert you can access the venue
without ever having the need for a paper ticket. More than just a wireless connection, NFC is a
basic tool allowing you to instinctively interact with your electronic environment.
NFC – a virtual connector
NFC can be used for quickly establishing other types of wireless communication between
devices, acting as a virtual connector. Once two devices are in close vicinity, it can invisibly
configure and initialize other wireless protocols such as Bluetooth and 802.11 (e.g. Wi-Fi),
enabling devices to communicate at longer ranges or transfer data at higher rates. In an
environment rich with wireless-enabled devices, NFC is the easy way to set up connections
without needing to go through complicated menus.
NFC – the unique link to the contactless smart card world
NFC also offers a unique link to the contactless smart card world. being compatible with the
broadly established infrastructure based on ISO 14443 A, i.e. Philips MIFARE® technology, as
well as Sony’s FeliCa card used for electronic ticketing in public transport and for payment
applications. The reason for this is that NFC devices can operate in an active or passive mode,
enabling communication with a wide variety of passive devices, like contactless smart cards or RF
transponders. This feature also allows mobile devices to communicate in passive mode, saving
power and extending their battery life.
The NFC Forum
NFC technology – jointly developed and promoted by Philips and Sony – is a means to
overcome the dizzying complexity of modern technology in our increasingly connected world.
The aim for NFC is to establish the technology as an open platform offering the best benefits for
everyday consumers. To achieve this goal, Philips and Sony have teamed up with Nokia to
establish the NFC Forum, which will promote the implementation and standardization of NFC
technology. With other companies invited to join, NFC will enable users to access content and
services in an easy and intuitive way by simply touching smart objects and connecting devices just
by holding them next to each other.
Standardization and technical details:
Targeted to become a widely adapted contactless infrastructure, NFC is already standardized
according to globally accepted standardization bodies, such as ISO (18092), ECMA (340) and
ETSI. NFC operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range, over a distance of a few centimeters.
Operating at data rates of 106 kbits/s and 212 kbits/s, NFC is compatible with Philips’ MIFARE®
(ISO 14443 A) and Sony’s FeliCa smart card protocols, respectively. However, higher
transmission speeds can be achieved between dedicated NFC devices -- initially up to 424 kbits/s
-- with potential for higher bit rates.
NFC White Paper produced by the industry association Ecma International.