NFC Tag Series: Introduction to NFC

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NFC Tag Series: Introduction to NFC

NFC Tag Series: Introduction to NFC

Near Field Communication, or simply NFC, is an emerging technological trend that is slowly creeping up the mobile world. The idea is a very low power communication with very short wave signals. Since these signals are only active on a very short distance, interaction with N FC devices would require close proximity.

Initially, NFC has been marketed to be a technology to be used for Mobile Payments. Credit cards are traditionally swiped though POS (Point of Sale) machines. They recently created a contactless card, which allows you to simply tap a card through a ‘contactless’ POS to make payments. Using this same emerging concept, the idea of using a short range communication chip onboard a smartphone to make payments with a tap was born.

NFC ChipSome people would ask: ‘why smartphones?’ If you look at this day and age, the smartphone is almost a part of our body now. Nearly nobody leaves their home without their smartphone. It has become everyone’s lifeline and connection to the internet. It has become everyone’s handy point and shoot camera. It has become the complete Personal Information Manager. Simply put, we always have it and use it. So what’s wrong with adding a whole new use for smartphones?

Since most companies and payment solution providers like ISIS and Google Wallet heavily advertise the use of NFC for mobile payment, people have begun associating the technology as a tech that can only be useful for ‘Mobile Payments’. That is where they are wrong. There is so much more we can do with NFC technology.

The NFC Tag

NFC tag GenericOther than mobile payments, NFC can be used for communication with small devices called ‘NFC Tags’. These devices have no power on their own. They are like dormant memory chips that are powered externally.

When an NFC chip in a smartphone is enabled, it constantly emits a short wave signal that allows it to scan with NFC compatible hardware. Incidentally, this short wave signal is also capable of powering a low-power memory chip.

Are you starting to see the picture now? The power emitted from the smartphone’s NFC chip can power the dormant NFC tag so that it can relay the information it holds within though a wireless environment. The data held by these tags vary. It could hold a link to an advertiser’s website, it could hold a business card data, it could hold a short text message or even a command that your device can execute.

There are plenty of applications where we can make full use of the many functions an NFC tag could hold. This series intends to show you the many things you can do with a combination of an NFC tag and an NFC capable smartphone.

Check out the other topics of this series:

NFC Tag Series: Which NFC Tag to get?
NFC Tag Series: Programming an NFC Tag Part 1: Tags that need Launchers
NFC Tag Series: Programming an NFC Tag Part 2: Tags that don’t need Launchers
NFC Tag Series: Programming an NFC Tag Part 3: Making a Switch Tag


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