Will Near Field Communication Displace Other P2P Wireless Technologies?


NFC derives its roots from an existing technology but goes far to improve communication. The birth of this technology has been welcomed in the tech world and every stakeholder in the mobile communication ecosystem has been positively impacted. How and why thoughts abound in your mind, then read on.

How does NFC work?

NFC uses RFID to communicate between devices placed within 10 cm of each other. Among these devices, NFC enables one of them to act as an active device and emit a radio frequency that locks with an NFC enabled passive device or tag and extracts data from it. Passive devices can only hold data but are unable to verify it. On the other hand, active devices can be programmed to retain and deliver data when requested by other active devices.

Security measures such as encryption can be wrapped in communications. It is recommended to equip devices with anti-virus software to protect sensitive transactions.

Application of NFC

NFC clearly steals a march over other wireless forms of communication for reasons mentioned in the previous section of this article. It will be interesting to note the various uses to which this technology can be applied. However, a single continuous example has been described for discretion involving NFC in everyday life.

This example illustrates the amazing things a fictional character named Joe can do with his NFC-enabled smartphone. Joe, a social media consultant, lives in Newton, a leafy residential suburb of Boston, MA. He uses Amtrak to commute to Summer Street, Boston’s central business district. At the embarking station he wants to buy tickets to Boston and back. He spots an NFC-enabled vending machine and flashes his smartphone near it. After the initiation protocol, Joe proceeds to select and reserve the ticket and the confirmation appears on his smartphone. He boarded the train to Boston. At the request of the ticket checker (TC) he flashes the smartphone to the TC’s NFC enabled ticket verification machine which uses an active device to extract data from Joe’s phone. Reservations were confirmed and the gentlemen exchanged pleasantries as their devices a moment ago!

Joe got off at South Station and went to his office. On the way he saw a kiosk showing a Vangelis concert at the Boston Symphony Hall. He touches his NFC mobile phone to the NFC tag of the funky poster and retrieves data like date, time, participating musicians, theme, etc. on his phone. He reserves seats for concerts with his mobile phone using mobile communication (eg: SMS, Internet) to get complimentary tickets. He informed his wife through a text message inviting her to the concert and later for dinner.

At the entrance to the office, he touches the NFC-enabled door to open his NFC mobile phone.

Come lunchtime, and Joe uses a credit card stored on his phone to pay for the meal again using his smartphone using NFC tap-and-go at the POS register in the restaurant.

In the afternoon he met with members of his new client company. At the end of the meeting, Joe and his clients touch their phones together to exchange their business cards stored on their NFC mobile phones.

In the evening, Joe and his wife arrive at the Boston Symphony Hall where he touches his NFC mobile phone to an NFC enabled turnstile. Their reservation is confirmed and they are admitted in the hall.

After enjoying a lively concert, they head to Macy’s where Joe surprises his wife with a platinum necklace. They had a quiet candlelit dinner in Little Italy by the bay. Joe uses an NFC credit card on his phone to make payments in both cases. On the way back, they attend a street carnival in Quincy. Joe loses his smartphone in the commotion. Realizing, he immediately called his mobile service provider to report the theft of his mobile and requested them to cancel the NFC services on the phone. This will delete confidential information (especially financial related) from his mobile. Joe can reactivate NFC services when he returns his mobile phone

From the illustration one can observe that NFC can be used in everyday life.


NFC is a boon for mobile users who are discovering and bringing to life the myriad of applications that mobile can perform. From the days when a mobile was used only for making a call to now being used as a mobile wallet, a ticket booking system, a security system etc., the user has extracted a lot from the mobile. NFC provides the momentum to take this excitement to the next level.

NFC is secure, versatile and growing in popularity. Good luck bumping!