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NFC: Everything you want to know [Computing] [Times of India]
[February 27, 2013]

NFC: Everything you want to know [Computing] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Your mobile phone is already your identity. The web services of banks, for example, send you a one-time password to your phone to ensure secure log in. Railway and bus services let you travel with ticket information sent to your phone.

If an upcoming technology called NFC or Near Field Communication catches on, your phone will be your wallet too, obviating problems of fake currency, soiled notes and 'giving change' . The phone will also be your gateway to know more about products, services, places and people.

NFC enables transfer of between two devices: one of them your phone, and the other could be another phone or an NFC tag or a payment device, which are in close proximity, like around 10 cms, of each other. Besides cash transfer, the technology can be used to share audio and video files, photos, contact information and web addresses, besides for many other functions.


Tags of information NFC is not new. A wireless radio communication, like Bluetooth or wifi, it's an improvisation on RFID, or radio frequency identification . It's faster to set up and has more applications than what Bluetooth provides. The short range required for data transmission makes the technology more secure.

A lot of information can be stored in NFC tags and attached to products, like barcodes. Your NFC-enabled phone will be able to read, download and store the information contained in the tag.

The technology can be used in a variety of situations: for example , in informational posters, prescription bottles, movie or railway or airline tickets, business cards, etc. For example, the NFC-tagged menu in a restaurant will give you on your phone not just food items available but also the ingredients in them and their nutritional value.

Google Wallet Google has been aggressively promoting NFC via its Google Wallet. Available as an app on Android market, it converts your phone into a wallet. It holds all your credit and debit cards, gift vouchers and reward points; the data being stored in the Google cloud.

To pay at a retail store you have to select the card and tap the phone to a contactless point of sale terminal. Shortly after the payment is done via NFC, you will see the merchant's name and the amount paid. Google says the PIN for the app makes it secure. Even if the phone is lost, mobile wallet can be disabled remotely. On a website, you have to click the Buy with Google Wallet button, log on to Google Wallet and click to complete your order, says Barak Turovsky, head of mobile commerce , Google Wallet. The Google Wallet mobile app is available for users with eligible phones only in the US, says the website.

Lock car with phone Mobile wallet providers and commercial establishments are trying out NFC payments in many countries on an experimental basis. In India, over the past one year, there have been field trials for ticketing in Delhi Metro, in Delhi buses and a movie halls in Mumbai.

Hyundai engineers, in Germany in December last year, demonstrated how an NFC-enabled phone can be used to lock and unlock a car. All that you have to do is wave your phone over a small tag on the car window. Company says the technology will be available for buyers within two years.

Early days still A setback for NFC was Apple leaving it out from iPhone 5. Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller told AllThingsD that it was not clear if the technology could solve current problems. But, predicting that smartphone would soon replace plastic card, Fred Huet, managing director of Greenwich Consulting, told Guardian, "With over 400m active credit card accounts on file, Apple had a prime opportunity to convert its customers using a sleek mobile payment system tied to the iPhone." Barring iPhone, most smartphones now are NFC enabled. For example, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung S3 and BlackBerry Z10. Varghese M Thomas, director, corporate communications , RIM, India & Greater China Region, says, "The need of the hour is to have a robust ecosystem with the help of retailers , banks and payments gateways . Only then, the power of NFC can be truly experienced." What is NFC Near Field Communication is standard for transmission of data between your phone and another device, like another phone, an NFC tag or a payment device.

What NFC can do NFC-enabled smartphone can be used to read information contained in an NFC tag; like a phone is used to read barcodes and QR codes. Transfer files like music, photos, videos to another phone; like Bluetooth Make payments, for example at retail outlets, the same way we use credit cards.

Advantages of NFC The short distance needed for it to work, makes it secure It's simple to use -- just wave the phone. It can be used for a wide variety of purposes (c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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