NFC - Near Field CommunicationBy: Ivan OrbegozoUniversity of WashingtonMaster of Communication in Digital Media | MCDMMobile Media Development and IntegrationCurrent StateFor most of us, there is no doubt that mobile is here to stay. Thanks to a newgeneration of handsets,mobile phone usersare becoming more productive. Today,there are many tasks that consumers achieve using their smartphones includingonline banking, paying for coffee, makinghotel reservations, checkingbarcodesfor prices, and scanning QR codes for coupons and specials. Nowadays,consumers are waving their smartphones into a variety of marketingadvertisements–to check for additional information– using a technology calledNear Field Communication(NFC). Only four years ago, these taskswereimpossible to imagine.The widespread adoption ofNFCtechnology has broughtopportunities formobilemarketers to engage potential customers with their brands. The trend of doingmore with ourmobile devicesis expanding. As a result, actions, such asmakingmobile payments are also becoming increasingly common. Consumers are gettingcomfortableusingapps such us mobile wallet solutions to complete daily life tasks.Companies like Google and MasterCard are betting onthis emerging technologyto power their mobile payments systems in the United States. They have beenworking in NFC technology for a quite a while. The virtual service, GoogleWallet,allows itsusers to store their credit cards and gift cards for in-store and onlineshopping. There are plenty of rumors over the Internet that Apple has a stronginterest in incorporating new, andexciting usage scenarios —beyondmakingmobile payments—using NFC capabilities in the upcomingiPhone 5.
The termNFC is not new. It has actually has been around for many years. Butcompanies like Google, with theirmobile first strategy, Microsoftwith their newpatent “Tap and Do”, (Lambert, 2012)and Apple’s attention to explore deeperinto the NFC field, have sparked a sudden surge of interest around the termagain. With this renewed attention, manufactures have become morewilling toimplement NFC technologiesin their next generation of smartphones.What is NFC?Near Field Communicationis a wireless communication technology that wasestablished in 2002,as a joint action betweenPhillips and Sony. The idea was tocreate a protocol compatible with proprietary contactless technologiesfrom:Mifare and FeliCa. At the end of 2003, the NFC technology was approved as astandard ISO 180921. Later, in March 2004, Phillips, Sony, and Nokia formed theNFC forum to further develop NFC specifications and ensure interoperability.NFC is a wireless technology that enables short-range interconnection betweenelectronic devices in an intuitive, simplified transaction (via touch). Thecommunication occurs when two NFC devices are close together (2.5cmor less) toinitiate a connection. NFC enabled mobile phones can send encrypted data in ashort distance (“near field”)to another reader. This is one of the biggestadvantages of NFC because it inhibits the ability toof hackers to eavesdrop2onNFC-enabled transactions.Although NFC technology allows data exchange between devices, it is not aimedat the mass transmission of data, Bluetooth, or the style of WLAN technologies(Wi-Fi) but rather at the the communication between devices with processing1 ISO 18092: ISO/IEC 18092:2004 defines communication modes for Near Field CommunicationInterface and Protocol2 Eavesdrop: Is the act of secretly listening to the private conversation of others without theirconsent.2 IVAN ORBEGOZO | NFC | MOBILE MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AND INTEGRATION
capabilities such as mobile phones, PDAs, or PCs. It is considered acomplementary technology to these devices, not a replacement.NFC ApplicationsThe first uses of NFC technology are closely linked to mobile phones because ofits ubiquity and the fact that it is frequently the only device that consumerscarryaround. It is expected that over a period of three to five years, one third of globalmobile phones will be NFC enabled. Below are some common applications usingNFC technology.- Digital wallet: It can be used for retail –by waving the phone, customers can make mobile payments in transportation, vending machines, movie theaters, etc.- Digital ID: It can be used for access control into different facilities, verifying its user’s identity in such cases.- Marketing Ads: Enables a personalized and contextualized approach to each user, providing instant actions with a great rate of return. For example, in so-called smart posters that have an embedded NFC Tag, customers can waive their phones and receive a virtual interaction with the brand. Hospitality:A small number of hotels are using NFC during their check- inand room key process. Customers cantap their smartphone into the door knob to gain access into their hotel rooms.- Improved user experience: Consumers will save time by not having to waiting in line for different activities, such as ticket purchasing. Other services will personalize a consumers experience by recognizing their preferences from previous interactions.- Networking: Contact information can be shared between participants by simply tapping the NFC enabled device, eliminating potential transcription errors.
NFC pilots have been conducted in various cities worldwide (Atlanta, Caen, andMadrid). The results have shownsuccessful outcomes. NFC technology providedcustomers with a reliable and easy way (by waving their phones) tomakepurchases, access restricted locations and exchange information.What is a NFC Tag?A NFC tag stores small amounts of data that allows smartphones to interact withthe real world. Consumers have instant access to information about differentproducts and services. NFC tags holds URL data, but also can contain Vcards,custom data, phone numbers, special offers, coupons, email address, and more.For example, a smart tag could be embedded in a concert ticket. By tapping thetag, a customer could be directed to the band’s mobile site to buy their latest hits.How to start embracing NFC Technology?A NFC-enabled phone is required. To check the most accurate list of NFC-enabledsmartphones,click here.How to program NFC Tags?To be able to program a NFC-tag,users needto follow the steps below: 1. Possess an Android NFC-enabled phone 2. Download an app called NFC Task Launcher from the Android Apps on the Google Play site. Follow the instructions of the video to see a quick demo of creating tags here. This app will allow users to create several types of tags, including a custom "Task" tag that will automatically execute tasks when read 3. Purchase NFC tags4 IVAN ORBEGOZO | NFC | MOBILE MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AND INTEGRATION
Where can I find NFC Tags?You can find NFC tags online.Users should make sure they buy pre-formattedtags to avoid issues while formatting. Below are a few online sites where users canpurchase NFC tags.- Amazon- Buynfctags- Gototags- TagstandNFC Advantages 1. Intuitive and easy solution: Simple data acquisition (by touch) 2. High Usability: Easy to operate and captivate, minimal interaction with display and keypad, no typing errors 3. Easy to set-up: No special software (for easy to use case scenarios), no user manualsNFC Stats and Predictions In 2011: America’s first NFC smart poster campaign In 2011: Number of NFC phones shipped: 30 million In 2012: America’s first NFC-Powered Magazine Ad In 2012: There will be 200 million phones with built-in NFC technology In 2015: NFC will facilitate transaction valued at US$74 billion In 2016: Global mobile transactions will approach US$9.9 billion In 2016: Number of NFC phones shipped: 700 million Over next five years: The NFC Tag market will be worth US$298 million
BibliographyLambert, S. (2012, March 26). Microsoft registers new NFC Tap and Dotrademark for Windows 8. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from QRCodePress:http://www.qrcodepress.com/microsoft-registers-new-nfc-tap-and-do-trademark-for-windows-8/857670/