Near Field Communication (NFC) is the set of protocols that enable electronic devices to establish radio communications with each other by touching the devices together or by bringing them into close proximity.
NFC has a short range of less than 10 centimetres. It is a low power wireless link evolved from radio frequency identification(RFID) technology that can transfer small amounts of data between two devices.Unlike Bluetooth, no pairing code is needed & because its very low power, no battery is needed in the device that is being read.
At the time of writing the NFC standard has 3 modes of operation:The peer to peer mode, a read/write mode & card emulation.This allows NFC technology to be utilised in a number of creative ways.NFC is currently being tested by a variety of organisations who want to use smartphones as next generation access cards. NFC & Government is another area of opportunity in terms of public transport and service delivery. NFC technology could let bus travellers pay for their commute to work through mobile devices. This could be replicated in gaining access to public facilities such as libraries,parks,etc. Business cards with NFC tags that display the online resume of the individual on a mobile device or an item in a supermarket that shows more details on the product.The list is endless.
This however does not mean that NFC is risk free. Because NFC appears to have a future in mobile payment & data transfers there are risks involved.If everyone starts to carry all their credit card & banking information on their cellphones, it will become much easier for people to steal this information. Problems such as data tampering,data interception & mobile malware can be used in innovative ways to steal money/information. Many people misplace their phones & can lose them completely. Then anyone can pick up the phone and access the information that is stored in the phone which is a huge security issue.
NFC can go a long way in increasing convenience for the individual.Imagine going to a foreign country & seeing signboards with NFC tags that translate the foreign language to one of your own choosing.NFC can be used creatively to make changes in our daily lives & the only limit to its utility is the limit that we put on our own imaginations.