What is the History of NFC? Where did the Technology Come From?
Still in its infancy, (near field communication) NFC technology is gradually being introduced to the “real world” through its deployment in smartphones, tablets, smart posters, and tags. Yet, as more mobile device manufacturers launch NFC-enabled phones and other handhelds, retailers and marketers implement NFC campaigns, and consumers embrace NFC applications, it seems only a matter of time before the new technology is ubiquitous. Envision walking by a storefront and being able to place your mobile device on the NFC “spot” — and just like that, you receive a discount or promotional offer for a product. NFC is automatic. NFC is intuitive. NFC is easy…it just works!™
When parents join together to bring a new baby into the world, their lives are filled with joy and gratification. In this case, the newborn is near field communication. The rise of this technology derives from the convergence of several elements, most prominently the union of Philips and Sony in addition to the use of contactless smart cards in public transit. For years, most major public transit systems in Europe and the US have worked on Philips (now NXP Semiconductors) MIFARE™ technology, while Sony’s FeliCa™ contactless standard has been widely used in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. In 2002, Sony and Philips came together to create what is dubbed today “near field communication.”
Initially an attempt to harmonize of the MIFARE and FeliCA contactless smart card standards, NFC is a smart card injected with steroids. NFC is compatible with both standards, but also adds some unique elements. Rather than solely acting like a smart card, NFC also can serve as a contactless reader, which means that the technology can be used in different ways, to enable different types of applications on the same device. For example, an NFC-enabled smartphone can act as a smart card to authenticate you at the entrance to your workplace; it can be used as a reader to download a coupon from an NFC tag; and it can enable peer-to-peer communication so you can share what’s on your phone with someone else.
The result: NFC has bridged the gap between the physical and digital worlds, alleviating the need to carry multiple cards. Now, those carrying NFC-enabled devices essentially hold a smart card reader in their hand to read tags in the physical world.
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