What is NFC?

Written by Delroy Ricketts.

NFC means Near field communication. It is a related technology to RFID that uses a very short-range radio wave at a frequency of 13.56MHz and works at proximity of about 4cm. For some use it’s seen as a comparable alternative to RFID but in fact it is a subset of the same technology. NFC also supports passive technology meaning one end of the communication does not need power because the radio wave frequency can power the passive end which could be on a card. Barclay card have adopted this technology since 2007 into their cards for contactless payments. This means they have the ability to identify a unique identity and transfer data between the card and the reader. When the NFC tag is integrated with a secure smart card technology like that on the bank cards, this will provide a level of security that will encrypt data that only the reader with the same encryption key can read.

NFC is also emerging in the fast growing smartphone market expanding the use of the technology. According to (NFC Forum,2011) its creating new possibilities. Consequently it fair to say there is a strong case that the duo of NFC and smart phones could be the assisting link between personal monitoring and business enabling. NFC enabled phones allow for two way communication. Evidence already shows that RFID can be used to an extent within health club system but possibly with the added benefits of smartphones with RFID/ NFC ability this could be area that could give both business and consumer added benefits the association for engaging user’s smart phones with NFC ability to interface between systems that supports NFC.

According to market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC)”unit shipments for smart connected devices should top 1.1 billion worldwide in 2012. By 2016, IDC predicts shipments will reach 1.84 billion units, more than double the 2011 figure” (International Data Corporation, 2012)


  • It is a short-range wireless interaction between electronic devices and NFC compatible tags
  • It offers a range of interactions such as contactless transactions, access to digital content and connectivity between electronic devices
  • It enables devices to share information at a distance that is less than 4cm
  • It provides the means for easy connectivity, quick transactions and simple data sharing
  • Users can share business cards, make transactions, access information from a smart poster or provide credentials for access control systems
  • It offers solutions in areas such as information collection and exchange, access control, healthcare, transportation, payment systems and consumer electronics
  • Over 500 million NFC devices worldwide and growing; NFC is incorporated in many of today’s smartphones

How can NTAILS assist your business?

The NTAILS project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund