Near Field Communication (NFC) - One of the big revolution for 2011, for sure

Here is a quick definition of NFC by wikipedia :

"Near Field Communication or NFC, is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 centimeter (around 4 inches) distance. The technology is a simple extension of the ISO/IEC 14443 proximity-card standard (RFID) that combines the interface of a smartcard and a reader into a single device. An NFC device can communicate with both existing smartcards and readers, as well as with other NFC devices, and is thereby compatible with existing contactless infrastructure already in use for public transportation and payment. NFC is primarily aimed at usage in mobile phones."

In a range of 20 centimeters and for a set-up time less than 0.1 sec, your NFC-phone can:

I think (I'm not alone!) it will be one of the killer technologies of 2011 for end-users because the majority of the new smartphones will include NFC chipsets (iPhone included) and the SDK to play with. Moreover, big players have confirmed their interest for using this technology:

Join me 5 minutes to think of all the different applications that can be created:

Electronic ticketing
There are already many parks and events that use electronic tickets such as barcodes, QR code, etc. The first big one was called Tickes@Phone and was used by The Washington Nationals on April 27 2007 when the team hosted the New York Mets for a three-game series (baseball). The tickets were delivered to cell phone via text message and were scanned at the entrance.
With new NFC-phone capabilities and the standardisation, electronic ticketing will certainly blow. Apple introduced last april a patent to protect his iTunes "Concert Ticket +" system. In addition of the delivery of the ticket and to gain entry into an event, the system can also offer additional benefits such as digital content which may include a live recording of the event, exclusive contents, discounts on merchandise related, prepaid refreshments, etc.

Last year, one of the biggest experimentation took place in south of France. The goal was to evaluate if NFC-enabled mobile phones can be applied to the aircraft boarding process. Over a six-month period, all the 1st class passengers travelling on the route between Nice and Paris Orly were equipped. The conclusion was a big thumb up and a total success. Furthermore, it isn't too expensive to implement NFC because it's just an upgrade of existing reader.
In 2008, German rail operator launched is own NFC-ticketing pilot program in which 200 travelers touched their phones to an NFC tag when they boarded the train and then to another when they got off. The fare was calculated and added to their monthly bill.

Mobile wallets
Your phone is always in your pocket, so why not using it as a credit card if it allows to save time? Imagine doing some shopping by scanning your products with your phone and pay them without pass by the cashier... Today, some experimentations have a great success by using NFC terminals, but if the technology is embed in smartphone, it's gonna turn mainstream for sure.
MasterCard and Visa are both members of the NFC Forum and have been involved in pilot programs that use NFC-enabled phones as a flash payment option.
Apple has just patented a possible iWallet Implementation in portables.

Electronic keys
Iimagine yourself unlocking your doors just approaching your phone next to the lock... no more keys needed + the ability to temporary give access to someone.

Tourism tours and informations
Imagine: you are on a tour, visiting a beautiful town and you pass by a gorgeous old abbey. You unsheathe your phone from your pocket and scan this little printed RFID tag sticked on the wall. Then you have all the informations and the details. OK, you can already do that by scanning a QR code but NFC is much more faster and convenient. No need to take a picture. It's done in less than 0,1 sec!
As a tourist office, you can organize guided tour or sort of treasure hunt. Your guests ride from tag to tag, discovering places and obtaining informations on their phones. GPS can do that, but the accuracy still not so precise.

Check-in and location based networks/gaming
Foursquare is great. I use it a lot, but it's so easy to check in a place you're never been to! A-GPS technology can't localize you better than 50 meters. With NFC, I bet foursquare will place tags inside this super chic nightclub where you are the mayor without had put one a single foot in it!

Health Care
"Not only can NFC tags provide medical professionals with information about what treatments a patient should receive, but they can also keep track of when nurses and doctors have checked in with that patient and when. Each time the tag is scanned, the information about who scanned it and when can be transferred to a database. In addition to improving treatment, NFC tags also have potential in the research realm." Source:

"Bump" applications
As NFC chipsets in phone are relatively similar to bluetooth technology, we can bet on the adaptation of all the current "bump" applications to exchange datas such as business cards or profile (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc), but also the new ability to transfert cash easily, to set up wifi or bluetooth connections and so on.

All these applications save time, reduce data manipulations by humans and risk of mistakes. In addition, it drastically reduce the stuff in your pocket: no more keys, no more credit cards, no more tickets ... what a perfect world!
That's why I'm going to have a closer look at the NFC technology this year. If you are interested to launch a project, let me know.

2 very good sources:


  1. There's another device already out on the shelves and that got the NFC technology before the Nexus S: Nokia C7. Pity nobody ever mention it! Symbian is behind on many things, but it's still a good system!

  2. Right Flavio,
    We can also mention all these phones:

    Samsung S5230 Tocco Lite/Star/Player One/Avila
    Samsung SGH-X700 NFC
    Samsung D500E
    SAGEM my700X Contactless
    LG 600V contactless
    Motorola L7 (SLVR)
    Benq T80
    Sagem Cosyphone
    Nokia C7-00
    Nokia 6216 Classic
    Nokia 6212 Classic
    Nokia 6131 NFC
    Nokia 3220 + NFC Shell
    Google Nexus S

  3. interesing one