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Near Field Communications

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NFC stands for Near Field Communications. Its technology is very similar to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but unlike Wi-Fi and Bluetooth it has a very short wireless transmission range, that typically ranges somewhere from 1cm to 4 cm in distance. NFC is also a low speed communication with speed varying from 106 to 414 kbps depending on your configurations. Technology itself has been around for a while and its early versions have been used in electronic identity documents and keycards. Technology started growing fast again when a lot of mobile handset manufacturers started implementing it into their phones. While it seems like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are way better options in wireless communications, NFC has few major advantages over them. One of the main advantages of the Near Field Communications is that it has a low friction setup, which means there is no discovery, pairing, or entering secret passwords between the devices. Because NFC is a very short range communication, two devices are ready to communicate with each other immediately after they are brought together within the range.

Second major advantage of the NFC is that it supports passive targets. These are the devices that can send and receive NFC data, but do not require batteries in them. Passive targets come in the form of NFC tag, sticker or any other shape, and they usually contain tiny microcontroller within, that picks up power from electromagnetic field from the other device. NFC tags are often used to store and share basic data like data like text, contact information, website addresses. With programmable tags you can buy, you can tap your phone to a sticker (on your desk, wall, car, or wherever) to automatically change the settings, such as volume or Wi-Fi network, open an app, pair Bluetooth devices, and more.

In addition, Google includes NFC functionality in their Android mobile operating system and provides a NFC payment service, Google Wallet, which would require a NFC enabled cash register and phone with your credit card information stored in it. From mobile payment to storing your membership information, marketing and ability to start your car – NFC has unlimited uses. With lots of devices coming up with improved NFC standards, many popular franchises will be starting to adopt this technology soon. Tap your phone to the bottom of the movie poster and you will be directed to the movie trailer and later to an app to purchase tickets from. Or you could tap your phone to the train schedule and have a PDF of the schedule sent to your phone. Small things like these could easily put NFC all over our world in a very short time.

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