What is the Function of the NFC on Your Smartphones

What is NFC Function
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Here are 10 NFC functions on smartphone, not only for e-money content. You are certainly quite familiar with the term NFC. This feature which stands for Near Field Communication, is a type of connectivity technology that is used in smartphones.

There are a number of NFC functionalities on cellphones that we need to be aware of and understand. NFC is the same as Bluetooth, Infrared, and WiFi, its function is to connect devices to one another at a certain distance.

However, there is something that makes NFC seem special over other types of connectivity, and its function is increasingly important.

As proof of how important this feature is, a large number of NFC-enabled smartphones have now been sold. Not only expensive cellphones, but also affordable cellphones.

It is possible to conduct non-cash transactions using this wireless communication system technology, which is known as electronic money (e-money).

For example, if a user conducts a transaction with a payment terminal of a merchant and the transaction is settled by an e-money transaction conducted between the user and the payment terminal, the transaction fee is charged to the user. The user can use the e-money for purchasing various goods and services from a merchant or the like through the payment terminal.


A Brief History of NFC and How NFC Works

NFC is arguably the most recent technology, having been introduced much more recently than Bluetooth, WiFi, and Infrared. However, this technology is also not new.

In short, NFC was initiated by two companies, namely Sony and Philips Semiconductors in 2002. Both companies want to create simple technology that will benefit both advertising and the industrial sector. In this case, identification, authentication and tracking.

The NFC forum was established two years after Sony and Philips filed patents and developed technical blueprints for their respective technologies. And Nokia also became a member at that time.

The joining of Nokia in the NFC forum is a sign that this feature will be brought to mobile phones. So this capability began to be introduced to Nokia phones long before the popular Android and iPhone period that we are currently experiencing.

Uniquely, the world’s first mobile phone with NFC is not Nokia, but the Panasonic P506iC, which was launched in 2004. Nokia’s first commercial mobile phone with NFC capabilities, the Nokia 6131, was released only in 2006, making it a relatively recent innovation.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Nexus S is the world’s first Android phone to support NFC, was introduced in 2010. As for the new Apple introducing NFC in 2016 through the iPhone 6, this is still up in the air.


How NFC Works

NFC uses a radio electromagnetic field with a specified frequency of 13.56 MHz and operates at a distance of less than 10 cm, allowing for wireless communication. This distinguishes it from other wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and WiFi.

The reason is, Bluetooth and WiFi take advantage of radio transmission over a wide radius.

Well, NFC can work if there are two types of devices connected. The two types of devices are active devices (initiator) and passive devices or target devices.

In this scenario, the active device is a smartphone, while the passive device is an NFC tag or card that has an NFC chip (or both). Activated devices are responsible with reading data from other active devices and exchanging data with other devices. Passive devices, on the other hand, can merely store information.

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As a result, NFC is quite similar to the barcode scanning technologies that are commonly found in supermarkets. Data transfer rates via NFC range from 106 to 424 kbit/s. This means that large data transfers are very inefficient.

The objective of NFC was not to transport large amounts of data, but rather to make it more practical and secure. After all, this technology is also cheap. That is why Near Field Communication (NFC) is becoming more popular than Infrared, despite the fact that both technologies have the same capabilities of exchanging data across short distances.

NFC is practical since it allows for the establishment of connections in a variety of ways as long as the two connected devices are within a reasonable distance of one another.

Meanwhile, the connection in infrared can only be established if the two devices (the source and the receiver) are in a straight line with each other. Then there’s the fact that NFC is secure because it uses the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol to encrypt data. Infrared technology does not have a security protocol.

Then there’s the fact that NFC is inexpensive since the passive device may be formatted (erased and written) frequently to fill in data as required. Furthermore, passive NFC devices do not require a power source such as a battery or any external power source.

NFC can also be used in conjunction with other technologies such as Bluetooth and WiFi.


NFC Functions

So, you now have a basic understanding of NFC’s history and operation. The next discussion is the functions that you can do through a smartphone that supports this one feature.

However, first make sure you know how to activate NFC on your cellphone before you can try out its functions one by one as follows :


1. Sending Data

The sending of data is the most fundamental function of any sort of communication, and NFC is no exception. NFC was first thought to be synonymous with the transfer of contacts, sometimes known as phone numbers, when it first appeared.

NFC Functions - Sending Data
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Instead of writing down phone numbers one by one and then saving them, it’s more practical if you stick two phones that have NFC features together. The phone number will be communicated straight from one phone to another with just a single touch of the screen.

In addition to contacts, other files can also be sent from mobile phones to other mobile phones through NFC. For example, images, URLs or links, documents, and directions to locations, either to other mobile phones or to laptop computers are all acceptable options.

However, keep in mind that the transfer speed of NFC is not fast. Make sure that the file you intend to send does not exceed a certain size.

When using an Android phone, sending files over NFC is made possible by a function known as Android Beam. Unfortunately, since Android 10 was released, the feature of sending files via NFC has disappeared and has been replaced by Nearby Share – similar to Apple’s AirDrop.

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2. Checking and Replenishing Electronic Money Balance

NFC is increasingly popular in many countries thanks to the cashless policy for transactions at toll road gates. Therefore, every driver who wants to access toll roads must have an e-money card.

The majority of today’s ATMs also have the capability of checking and topping up e-money card balances. It turns out that HP can perform this function through the use of NFC technology. You can also check and top up your e-money card balance anytime and anywhere.


3. Make Payments

If you are using a debit card, shopping at a shopping center is the best option. You won’t have to waste time standing in line at the ATM and withdrawing money according to the funds you budgeted for shopping. But, when the debit card is linked to a smartphone, it will become even more convenient to use than it already is.

NFC Functions - Make Payments
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Because of the NFC, convenience like this is becomes a reality. Simply tap your smartphone against the NFC reader of the payment receiver in the mall, and the transaction is complete.

Some manufacturers also make payments via cellphones with supporting applications, such as Samsung Pay from Samsung and Apple Pay for iPhone phones. It is also possible to link the two applications to the same digital wallet account.


4. Access Card Emulation

Today’s modern hotels and apartments choose access cards to replace conventional keys. This access card can be used to open doors, and it also functions as a form of elevator ticket, allowing users to take the elevator.

The information contained in this access card, on the other hand, can be sent to a smartphone equipped with NFC technology. The cool term is emulation. In this method, you can use your cellphone to unlock the entrance to a hotel or apartment.

Likewise when you want to use the elevator. Because of the existence of this emulation functionality, some manufacturers refer to their mobile phones as having “multifunctional NFC” capabilities.


5. WiFi Network Authentication

When attempting to join your cellphone to a new WiFi network, you may frequently be prompted to enter a password. Such an occurrence is very natural for you to encounter because passwords are one means of ensuring that not just anyone may gain access to wireless networks.

NFC Functions - WiFi Network Authentication
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However, certain public areas, such as hotels, are now utilizing a gadget known as a WiFi porter to eliminate the need for guests to enter passwords. The device saves passwords that can be read by mobile phones equipped with NFC technology.

Visitors only need to bring their cellphones closer to the WiFi Porter, and their phones will be directly linked to the WiFi network.


6. Recommend Applications

When you’re out with your friends, there are certain topics that you discuss with them. For example, you might talk about programs that are currently popular or about cornerstone applications that help you boost your productivity. You can of course have the application by asking your friends for his name.

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NFC, on the other hand, makes things considerably simpler. Your phone will instantly navigate to the download URL for the application without you having to manually type the name into the Google Play Store or Apple Store.

When NFC is used to promote applications to other devices, this is what is meant by “recommending applications.”


7. Running Applications on Other Phones

Not only recommending applications, through NFC, but it can also execute applications that have been loaded on other phones by using NFC. The condition, of course, is that both phones have the same application.

A number of technology manufacturers take advantage of the ability to run applications on these other devices. Especially for creating interconnectivity or connection to multiplatform devices.

Manufacturers such as Huawei are taking advantage of near-field communication (NFC) to ensure that laptops and cellphones communicate easily. Laptops can not only run applications on HP, but also open and copy data, as well as reply to messages and make calls.


8. Check-in

Checking in is another fundamental function that we must be able to perform now that NFC is built in our smartphones. Checking in is important for telling others that someone has arrived at a specific location, as the name implies.

This function can be used in a variety of situations, such as when individuals check into a hotel or when people check into various public areas.


9. Wireless Charging

Charging wirelessly does not mean that electrical power can be transmitted through waves. However, power will be sent through the two objects that stick together. Cool language is induction charging.

In this case, the back cover of the phone becomes an object that is inserted a special device so that it can conduct electricity to the battery. Well, in 2020, the NFC forum approved a new idea regarding wireless charging via NFC.

According to a number of experts, active devices on NFC can indeed deliver power to passive devices (NFC tags). However, this power capability is not great. It is possible that in the future, phones that support wireless charging by NFC will become available.


10. Ordering Food and Other Functions

From various sources, NFC has a function that is quite unique in Australia. In the Kangaroo Country, near-field communication (NFC) is important as a tool for moviegoers to order meals.

Visitors only need to open a food ordering application, choose a meal, and touch their cellphone to the arm of the chair where they are sitting. The food will be delivered to the customer’s seat number within a short period of time.

Another one-of-a-kind feature of NFC is that it acts as a mediator between the phone and other devices. For example, a keyboard, speakers, headphones, and alarms are all examples of peripherals. In 2012, the Japanese company, Elecom, created an NFC-enabled keyboard, for Android devices.


Well, that’s the explanation of 10 NFC functions on today’s cellphones or smartphones.

Which of the ten NFC functions on your smartphone have you utilized the most frequently?

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