The world over, we have seen a huge jump in the use of technology. In fact, the presence of technology has made our lives synchronized and smoothened daily operations. One such technology that we often hear about is NFC. This simple communication technology allows users to make secure NFC transactions, exchange digital content and connect electronic devices via NFC.
The global market size of Near Field Communication (NFC) has reached USD 23.10 billion in 2022 and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 14.8% from 2021 to 2028 reaching a USD 54.5 billion market in 2028.
These NFC transmissions are short-range and need the devices to be in close proximity to each other. Mostly this technology that allows devices to connect is used in contactless cards to make instant NFC payments. Let us have a look at everything you need to know about NFC, how it works, and its uses.
What is NFC, and How does it work?
NFC stands for Near Field Communication, which is a technology that allows smartphones to exchange information with another passive device. It also permits reading NFC-equipped cards over small distances. The technology is quite similar to the RFID tag, which is used in office access cards and keychain fobs.
NFC does not need to pass through various levels to finish the task. You do not require any manual pairing of the Android device or add passwords. All you have to do is place the smartphones with NFC close to each other. That is enough for the other mobile device to detect it and proceed with the completion of a transaction.
The NFC technology establishes a short-range network and exchanges the data via NFC through electromagnetic radio fields. The NFC tags could be both read and written. They usually contain 96 and 4096 bytes of storage. The technology needs two devices, one to send the signal and the other to receive it.
The two major specifications that are used for NFC technology are ISO/IEC 144443 and ISO/IEC 18000-3. The first specification is for defining the ID cards that store all the information like one found in NFC tags. The second specification is for the RFID communication used by the NFC devices. Both RFID and NFC work in tandem with each other.
What can you do with Near-Field Communication (NFC)?
The NFC technology has been in practice for a long time. It finds the solution for a major pain point of payment processing. The contactless payment offered by NFC uses mobile for simplifying payments. The following industries use NFC as short-range wireless connectivity technology in various ways:
The retail industry uses NFC for contactless mobile and Android payments. Apart from that, NFC tags are used for sharing product information, offering discounts, and marketing campaigns.
The SOS features are present on almost all smartphones. The scanning of the Android smartphone gives information like medical history, raising the alarm in case of an emergency, etc. NFC tags present on medicines help healthcare providers check the prescriptions and dosage info.
Banking and Finance
Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and other mobile wallets are how the technology helps the sectors. Plus, the NFC tags are used as keys to lockers and deposit boxes.
The NFC tags can be used to scan items and check in while traveling. Scanning an NFC tag at the entrance of a restaurant can share its menu so you can decide on the dishes.
Athletes can use the NFC tags to find the location of their precious equipment like sports kits etc. The use of such tags is useful in areas where GPS is unable to work.
Employee control systems
Employees no longer need to manually log their arrival and departure times. The system also records where an employee was at a particular time, simplifying employee performance and tracking.
NFC tags are useful in the manufacturing industry as well. They help in identifying the different stages of a product’s manufacturing cycle. The unique identification numbers allotted allow them to manage the products in situations of return during warranty, replacement, maintenance, etc.
Examples of NFC Technology Uses
Nowadays, NFC finds acceptance through various mobile apps. Some other use cases of the technology are as follows:
Simplifying home processes
NFC tags can be used for various home-related tasks. This includes the following:
Sleep mode automation
Certain people are very particular about their sleeping. With NFC tags, they can close down Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other wireless connections. A simple NFC tag on the Android mobile is all that is needed to do the above.
There are certain tasks that people easily forget. Laundry is just one of them. You can keep the NFC tag near your dryer or washing machine. One tap on the NFC chip tag will choose the wash cycle, load details, etc. It could also set a timer to start the cycle whenever you want it to.
Control your alarms
We all need assistance to wake up in the morning. You can attach NFC tags to your bedside table. With that, you can enable your alarms, disable any sound systems, decrease the brightness, etc.
Safety and emergency communications
In case you have people who need assistance, an NFC tag could be helpful. You could keep the NFC tag at a place where these people can reach. Program a help message, and they just have to press the tag for the message to reach you. You could also add specific instructions with the tags like:
NFC tags in the car
There are various ways in which near-field communication tags can help make your car trip better. Firstly, you can use them to control the lights, radio, etc. For instance, if your mobile phone is connected to the stereo, you can run apps like Spotify and play music of your choice. You could also track the speed, mileage, and distance traveled of the car on another NFC device.
Sometimes, it is important to get some sort of solitude while working. You can disable sounds, auto-sync, and enable Wi-Fi with NFC connection tags. You can also personalize your NFC workspace with the NFC tags. Program your mobile, prompt the to-do list, open frequently used apps, etc. You also get embedded NFC chips in virtual business cards.
In the Gym
Sticking the NFC tags to workout wear or your gym bag. Get an idea of the workout of the day or play your preferred playlist and enjoy the workout session.
Secure online buying
Online purchases have often been associated with fraud and payment errors. NFC tags can be used to confirm their identity and make payments. Having this additional level of security would ensure that only authorized individuals can transfer the NFC data.
Benefits and Limitations of NFC Technology
The usage of NFC technology can be too extensive. It has already ventured into a lot of areas and has the potential to continue growing further. However, every technology comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Let us quickly have a look at the same:
NFC vs. Other Wireless Technologies
NFC security is compared with other wireless technologies like Bluetooth, RFID, etc. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows data exchange between mobiles over short distances. The differences between both are quite stark:
Apart from Bluetooth, Wi-Fi is another wireless communication technology that we are going to discuss here:
NFC is an evolution and so far has found application in various areas. However, the road to its success is not short. In the future use of NFC technology will continue to enter new arenas and revolutionize the way things are done. The only problem with the NFC features is that they are easy to overcome and will find solutions soon.
The use of NFC is starkly different from other short-range wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The level of convenience and NFC support remains a strong point that works in its favor. You just have to hold your phone, and your payment is done. All in all, the contactless NFC makes life easy and should continue to cross every hurdle in the future as well.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why would I use NFC on my phone?
NFC offers a very high level of convenience. Using a contactless card on the phone allows a person to simplify his life without the need to carry extra cards. It allows seamless payments, access in offices, power to control NFC-enabled devices, and much more. The level of security is high, and with no manual work, the NFC technology is a must to complete basic operations.
What is an NFC tag?
Near-field communication tags send radio waves and Android beams to activate the antennae of the receiving device or smartphone. The recipient would then validate this information at the payment terminal and complete the transfer of information. NFC chip tags offer multiple opportunities for businesses that want to digitalize their operations or improve accessibility.