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Friday, December 16

What Benefits Can NFC Technology Bring To The UK Consumer?

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As technology advances the term Near Field Communications (NFC) will sure to be identifiable to many, but perhaps not entirely sure of it's applications or reasons for being. As of late NFC is becoming more and more apparent within consumers products such as mobile phones, credit cards, door entry systems and even in sim cards themselves. Forecasts conducted by Juniper Research discovered that by 2014 one in five smartphones will feature NFC technology.

So What Is NFC?

NFC is a short range wireless technology that can be used to to carry out transactions between two electronic devices at close range. Hence the technology being widely adopted and embraced by mobile manufacturers. A NFC device must include three to four elements. The NFC interface and antenna. Including Bluetooth pairing and smart poster/tag detection. The NFC standards cover communications protocols and data exchange formats that are based on already existing radio frequency identification (RFID) standards.

To help give an example of the most likely successful attempt to embrace this new technology is Google Wallet.

The new service provided by Google will eventually allow any mobile device to make payments in-store. By simply tapping the mobile phone onto the stores NFC compatible receiver. That will usually be incorporated into the chip and pin devices currently in use. Although, Google Wallet is currently only available at over 140,000 merchants across the US, with future plans of implementing worldwide in the near future.

As explained by Google, Google Wallet will eventually incorporate your loyalty cards, receipts, gift cards, boarding passes enabling your phone to do more than your wallet ever could. Other applications that can soon become widely adopted can be for use with public transport. Much like the oyster card that is currently available in London.

What Are The Benefits Of NFC?

The benefits of using NFC in many of our every day activities are yet to be seen but it's clear to see the possibilities are endless. Wherever sharing, transactions and pairing is required NFC can be implemented.

For sharing between devices, Bluetooth and WI-FI currently require strict co-operations and agreements between the two devices. Whereas, although NFC has a much more limited range it ultimately consumes less power and reduces the requirement of passwords and security codes.

So once the devices are both registered through NFC by simply touching the devices. There is more flexibility, since the devices can then be moved to a similar range that Bluetooth has.

But contactless payment has to be the best use of such a technology at the moment. With the possibility for instant payments that are made by simply swiping the card near a payment reader. Currently Barclays already uses debit cards that has contactless technology built in. This can enable all users to pay for items that are less than £15. Although still in the introduction stage, there is still quite a way to go before everybody will be able to maximise the use and benefits that NFC can bring.

With so many advances in mobile technology it is difficult to imagine what the future will hold. With camera's capable of capturing 8 megapixel photo's and 1080p HD video with the combination of now achieving cheap calls to USA, Australia, Poland and anywhere from a mobile device. It's almost impossible to imagine a world without smartphones and where the limits are for the devices to continually grow and improve.


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