Written by Heather Kessler

NFC, Near Field Communication, is a short-range wireless communication technology which allows for the exchange of data between electronic devices over a 10 centimeter distance, allowing consumers to perform contactless transactions. Operating at 13.56 MHz and transferring data at up to 424 Kbits/second, NFC provides intuitive, simple, and safe communication between electronic devices. NFC is both a “read” and “write” technology. Communication between two NFC-compatible devices occurs when they are brought within four centimeters of one another: a simple wave or touch can establish an NFC connection, which is then compatible with other known wireless technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. There are major corporations that are excited about promoting the NFC because of the potential impact.  Nokia, Sony, and Royal Philips Electronics founded the NFC Forum in 2004 in order to promote the short-range wireless connectivity technology. Samsung, Motorola, Microsoft and more than 140 other organizations all joined the party shortly after.

NFC has a huge potential to affect every aspect of our lives. It can be used in every devices such as mobile phones that enable payment to a soda machine or when buying groceries, transferring information to digital cameras that send their photos to a TV set with just a touch, or telling your doctor of your medical history.

Think this is farther off in the future? While it might take a few years to fully implement itself in everyday life, it isn’t that far off; phones and credit cards are already running NFC programs.  Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. have advertisements showing a guy air-swiping his card over a scanning device to initiate a credit-card charge. Google established a pilot program on December 16, 2010 in Portland, Oregon. In this program Google brought “places kits of businesses”, including NFC-equipped ‘Recommended by Google’ window decals. Hoping to help businesses increase their online presence, the program allows users to swipe their Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) handset over the Google icon to bring up additional info about the business, user reviews, and to be tagged in that very spot. Now there is no need to get online and tell the world where you are!

No cash? No credit card? No problem, you can still purchase anything that you need while updating your friends and family on what you’re doing, where you are at, and who you are with.  This new technology can make our lives simpler with less “stuff”. Only time will tell if the NFC will be secure and accurate enough to be widely adopted.



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