Without the general
public being aware of it, RFID is everywhere! Are you
familiar with it? The little tags attached to, or
hidden in the products we buy (some even set off the
alarms when we leave a shop), in our passports and ID
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and has
been around for quite a number of years. Based on the
same technology a more advanced version emerged: NFC.
NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and it?s
exactly the technology implemented to enrich and
illustrate this book with multimedia content.
And there is more to NFC. You can use it for data
transfer from one phone to another, and the technology
allows you to simply leave your wallet or credit card
at home... your NFC enabled phone picks up the bill
NFC was originally developed to make secure radio
transactions possible using phones or gizmos. Payments
and reservations require no more than just holding
your phone close to another NFC-enabled device,
smartphone or tag for the transaction to launch. It
can also provide you with the automated setup of
special connections like Wi-Fi or a headset, and for
the exchange of business cards or contact information.
It can pay your parking ticket or purchase your next
ticket to a concert through a smart poster.
How does it work?
RFID and NFC employ the same technology: good old
transformers? work. A transformer consists of two
coils, a primary and a secondary, coupled by a core.
When a varying voltage is applied to the primary coil,
the current will create a varying magnetic field or
flux in the core as well as in the secondary coil.
The changes in the magnetic flux induce a
change in the secondary coil?s current, creating a
voltage on the end wires of the coil. This way
voltages can be transformed to higher or lower values.
RFID and NFC are both based on the same principle,
using inherent coupling to exchange data. Many
combined shop entrances/exits have a huge coil the
shape of a gate that?s strong enough to trigger the
small RFID tags in your shopping bag. The tags used in
this example are passive, meaning they will be
activated by, and respond to, the flux from the
primary source: an NFC smartphone or another device.
Learn how TAG have inriched the book Catch the Sun and
how you can ad your own content.
The most advanced type of coupling occurs with two
active NFC devices ? this is where the real
capabilities of NFC become apparent. In this mode
larger amounts of data can be transferred, or e.g.
automate the setup of a Bluetooth connection to a
headset or the way a Wi-Fi connection gets set up can
be automated. Communication is also possible between
an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a
?tag? or a ?card?. In this book there are unpowered
tags only. They wake up when the primary NFC device?s
field is applied. When ?woken up?, they will respond
by sharing the information in their memory with the
primary device. Their memory may contain a URL or
other information. In case of a URL the primary device
will open the browser, open the URL and (dis)play the
content. This is how the title song of this book will
The table below provides an overview of how NFC
compares to a technology like Bluetooth:
Active / Passive
2.4 ? 2.5 GHz
Point to Point
Personal Area Network
table shows why NFC is the preferred technology for
all sorts of applications where a quick, secure,
point-to-point, automatic and intuitive setup of
transactions and/or transfer of data from one device
to another is vital. The maximum distance at which NFC
devices operate is low compared to Bluetooth, defining
the different uses of the technologies. An example
would be a financial transaction, where information
preferably is not transmitted over a wide range.
Keeping the distance short adds to the security of
using the system.
NFC was introduced in smartphones via the Android OS
since the Gingerbread version of this operating
system. With e.g. the Beam application you just put
two NFC phones back to back, tap ?Beam? and the screen
content (photos, video, music) is automatically beamed
over to the other phone.
It will take some time for consumers to get familiar
with the new way of paying and connecting. However
once NFC is implemented to more and more smartphones
and tablets, a fast growing number of consumers
worldwide will be able to experience the benefits of o
establishing easy and direct connections with others
for gaming or networking purposes o mobile
NFC-payments in shops, buses and trains, for event
tickets and at parking meters o gaining direct access
to multimedia content in books, newspapers, concert
posters or at museums, checking in for flights or when
entering restricted buildings. Just to name a few
activities that are all a single tap or swipe away
with an NFC-enabled smartphone.
Retailers too will see obvious benefits from this
technology. The added value of having one platform for
information as well as payments is evident: clients
will receive information on e.g. products,
ingredients, discounts, stock availability and other
relevant information (like best-before dates) via a
single swipe or tap that will exchange all relevant
data well ahead of checkout. Customer loyalty programs
will get a new dimension with this technology as well.
Consumers will be able to download specific offers,
coupons or programs with only one touch.
The use of NFC technology has only just started. With
the standards sorted out and the arrival of more NFC
enabled smartphones and tablets the expectation is
that global NFC usage will take off shortly. Mobile
payments and transactions are the first applications
for this technology, but with a good deal of
creativity put in we?re sure to see more and more