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Near Field Communication - NFC


Near field communication, abbreviated NFC, is a form of contactless communication between devices like smartphones or tablets. Contactless communication allows a user to wave the smartphone over a NFC compatible device to send information without needing to touch the devices together or go through multiple steps setting up a connection. Fast and convenient, NFC technology is popular in parts of Europe and Asia, and is quickly spreading throughout the United States.


• What is near field communication (NFC)?

? Near field communication uses electromagnetic radio fields to allow two compatible devices to exchange data and share information when passed close to each other. Typically the devices must be within four to five centimeters of each other to work. This is in contrast to far field communication which operates across great distances.


• How does NFC work?

? Your smartphone or other NFC compatible device sends out radio frequency signals that interact with an NFC tag found in compatible card readers and smart posters. The signal creates a current that flows through the NFC tag and allows the device and the tag to communicate with one another. Typically one device, the tag, is passive and only sends out information while the other device, the smartphone in this case, is active and can both send and receive information.


• How does NFC benefit individuals?

? NFC provides numerous ways to make payments, retrieve information, and even exchange videos or information with friends on the go. Swiping your smartphone at a supermarket checkout instantly pays for your groceries without digging into your wallet for a credit card. Passing your phone over a friend’s phone allows you to share a website link while waving the phone in front of a poster or display with a NFC tag in it shows information about what you’re viewing. This is an excellent way to learn more about exhibits in a museum or upcoming events in your community.


• How does NFC benefit businesses and non-profit organizations?

? NFC allows your business to provide fast, secure ways for customers to pay at the register without digging through their wallets for various credit cards. It also lets customers store coupons and redeem customer loyalty points without carrying around extra papers and cards. It also offers ways to send information to customers using smart posters and displays with a NFC tag inside. A visitor would swipe their phone to learn more about historic monuments or famous pieces of artwork.


• Is NFC only for smartphones?

? Not at all! Many devices, be it a smartphone or a tablet, are capable of reading NFC tags.


• Is my smartphone NFC compatible?

?Some smartphones have NFC integrated into the smartphone itself while others can use NFC when a SIM card or microSD card compatible with NFC is installed. Checking your phone manufacturer’s website and pulling up your specific model should present a list of features and will include NFC if it is available. Well-known NFC compatible phones include Google’s Nexus S, Samsung’s Galaxy S II, and the BlackBerry Bold (versions 9900 and 9930).


• Can I still use NFC technology if my smartphone isn’t compatible?

? Yes. Near field communication technology is expanding and will be available on both SIM cards and microSD cards. Purchasing one of these two cards and inserting it into your smartphone lets you use NFC technology as long as you don’t remove the card.





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