21 September 2011
Guillermo Escofet of Informa Telecoms & Media has been looking at Mobile ‘Near-field Communications’ services. This is one of those real opportunities that sees mobile extending the possibilities of what can be done with near-field-communication technology, not only introducing a whole new NFC operating mode – peer-to-peer – but also extending into exciting new areas, such as augmented reality.
Beyond payments, Escofet reckons that great potential exists for mobile NFC in the areas of transportation, access controls, and CRM and marketing, including couponing and smart posters/packaging.
But mobile NFC is not moving into a vacuum. There are other mobile technologies, such as SMS and QR codes, as well as pre-existing contactless-smart-card implementations that will compete and coexist with mobile NFC, and the ‘added value’ that mobile NFC can bring in relation to these other enablers varies from service to service.
So what is it?
Near-field communication (NFC) is a wireless technology that operates at very close range – 4cm at the most – in the unlicensed 13.56MHz band. It is suitable for end-user-initiated, or pull, activities and, because of its close range, is less prone to interference and therefore more secure.
There are three main operating modes for NFC – tag reading and writing; peer-to-peer; and card emulation – and numerous applications for each (see fig. 1).
The end-user generates a radio-frequency (RF) field with his NFC device, which, in most…
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