Near Field Communication (NFC) is a standard for the wireless transmission of data in the HF 13,56MHz range. There are active and passive NFC transmitters: Active NFC transmitters can initialise connections and communicate. Passive NFC transmitters cannot setup a connection on their own. They depend on an active partner to be read. Active transmitters need an energy source whereas passive transmitters don’t. Passive transmitters use the energy of the active transmitters to transmit the stored information. This process requires maximum distance of 1 to 4 cm between active and passive transmitters.
NFC in mobile handsets
Several modern mobile handsets (like Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Nexus S or Blackberry 7) have an on-board NFC Transmitter. Therefore these handsets can communicate with other NFC handsets or read NFC passive transmitters. Passive NFC transmitters are known as NFC tags and you can find them in sticker form that can be stuck to any surface. The NFC tags can be written directly from the NFC handset. There are several memory capacity possibilities (between 64 bytes and 1Kbyte).
NFC in action
NFC technology is already in use in some cities (for instance in the public transport) and some magnetic stripe cards have now been replaced with NFC cards as this technology is far more reliable. Furthermore this permits new card form factors as no contact to any reader is needed.
New applications can be created through the use of contactless information transmission. With a dedicated Tag Writer app you can write any type of information on the NFC tag, like for instance an URL, some text, a business card, a telephone number, etc. You can also (with an NFC launcher app) program NFC stickers to execute actions on your smart phone (like changing the profile, activating or deactivating Bluetooth, accessing web sites, sending messages, etc.). There are no limits, so try it with our NFC sticker starter kit!
Some examples here:
- Have an NFC Sticker on your nightstand (or on your phone dock) that enables your alarm each night and lowers the volume levels for system and notifications when you tap it so you can sleep easily or program a toggle tag to toggle back to daytime levels on morning tap.
- Put NFC Stickers on your business cards pre-programmed with your business contact information. Anyone else with an NFC-enabled phone can add your contact info to their phone simply by tapping the tag.
- Put an NFC Sticker inside your glove box or anywhere in your car and have it send a text message to your spouse or children to let them know you're on your way home. Simply tap it when you leave work or the gym and they'll know you're on your way. You could even have two tags - another one to text if you're running late!
- Keep an NFC Sticker somewhere convenient at work and program it to put your phone into vibrate/silent mode.
- Use NFC Stickers at your place of business to allow people to quickly check-in on Facebook or Foursquare simply by tapping their NFC-enabled phone to your tag.
- Put an NFC Sticker in your locker and program it to send a message to your special someone every time you tap it with your phone.
- Put an NFC Sticker on your car dock that sets your phone up for driving: disable WiFi, enable Bluetooth, open your favorite music player or voice actions app. Put the tag on your visor and set it as a toggle so that tapping it as you exit your car switches things back to "non-driving" settings.
- Program an NFC Sticker to launch an update feature or app on your phone and stick it on a keychain or your purse/wallet so you can streamline the process.
- Put an NFC Sticker on a picture of your mom/dad or grandma/grandpa to call them by tapping to help you stay in touch more often.
- Program an NFC Sticker with your website address, Facebook Page, or Google+ page so people can quickly visit these pages on their phones simply by tapping the tag.
- Put a tag on your bike and tap it to start your favorite tracking app when you go for a ride.