Mar 16, 2016

Is Near Field Communication (NFC) the future?

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What is Near Field Communication?

NFC stands for ‘Near Field Communication’ and this technology allows transfer of small amounts of data between two NFC enabled devices (which we will get to in a second). To be honest, you don’t even actually have to touch the devices together, it’s ‘Near Field’, which means you can send and receive data by putting the devices about a centimeter away from each other and the data transaction would be successful. There are a lot of practical apps that we can use on an ‘Android’ device to control these tags. There’s also a lot of NFC enabled devices already out there in the market. If you have a NFC built phone (like the Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy 3/4/NOTE, HTC One, Nokia Lumia 920, the NFC chip will be normally built in the battery cover or inside the battery itself. However, I feel sorry for my fellow iPhone users who don’t have access to this technology.

 

Paying with NFC enabled Smartphonenear field communication

Do you know if you have an NFC enabled Smartphone you can pay in almost every store, including 7-eleven, Best Buy, Walmart, Kmart, McDonald (almost anywhere)? Thanks to Google Wallet. Google Wallet is an app by Google that let you store your credit and debit cards in the app itself (Don’t worry it is fully secure). Then, you can go in any store and pay for your merchandise by just tapping your phone on the Credit card swiping machine (if it has a Google Wallet logo on it). Isn’t it cool? I have personally been using this technology to pay for my food and grocery!

 

NFC Tags

The image on the right shows a Near Field Communication tag. Inside it is a small thin microchip that can communicate with NFC enabled devices. These chips can hold a certain amount of bytes of information, which varies per chip. The size of an NFC tag is usually about 1 – 1.5 inches and the thickness can be about 1 – 2 mm (the same as a business car). The NFC tags usually in two types, i.e, in stickers (paper + plastic), and bigger ones which includes more storage. You can program these Near Field Communication tags with your NFC enabled smartphone, with the help of some NFC programming apps. Every NFC command that your write takes about a few bytes of storage. It means you can hold multiple commands per NFC tag. Of course, there are tons of different Near Field Communication tags available with different storage capacities varying from about 32 – 1024 bytes (some carry even more). This may not sound enough but for a Near Field Communication tag, 1024 bytes are more than enough.

NFC Tags

 

As, I already stated these tags are re-programmable; and, the best NFC programming app for android is Trigger. This app will let you read and write commands on these NFC tags. These tags are re-writable, it means you can erase an old set of commands from this chip and put new commands, by using this app and your NFC enabled device. TagsforDroid.com sell NFC tags that can hold up to 1024 bytes of data. Therefore, go ahead an order these cool chips today. Below is the link to download Trigger from Google Play Store.

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