Now that international standards have been agreed and published for Near Field Communication (NFC) - the new short-range wireless connectivity technology - the market is set for widespread adoption across a whole range of applications.
This is according to a new white paper launched by Innovision Research & Technology, a leading developer of NFC and short-range RFID solutions. The comprehensive 12-page document, called 'NFC in the real world - turning the NFC promise into profitable everyday applications', is the first authoritative white paper to address the use of NFC in a business context and focus on the three key areas for application:
'Service initiation' - where NFC is used to 'unlock' another service, such as opening another communication link for data transfer. One type of application is the so-called 'smart poster' promoting a new service or product, and containing a specially created NFC tag. By touching a mobile device against the embedded tag, the user receives a URL for a web site that provides more information or the facility to book tickets for example.
'Peer to peer' - where NFC is used to enable communication between two devices, such as a mobile phone, laptop, printer, set top box, etc. One example is if someone takes a series of photos using a mobile phone or digital camera and wants to print them out - they simply touch the device against an NFC-enabled printer and a Bluetooth connection is established to transmit the photos from the device to the printer.
'Payment and ticketing' - where NFC will build on the emerging smart ticketing and electronic payment infrastructures. Many banks and mobile operators are interested in offering payment and ticketing applications on phones, and trials by the likes of Visa and MasterCard are already underway in Europe and the US.
According to Innovision Research & Technology, "initial mass market NFC applications are likely to build on existing communications infrastructure and user behaviour, where the user benefits are most compelling, the business case is the strongest and the commercial risks are the lowest.
"This implies a need for low-cost NFC integrated circuits (IC) that can easily be applied to a broad range of uses cost-effectively and with less risk and in a way that is compatible with the broadest range of devices and reader infrastructure."
Timed to coincide with growing interest in NFC, following the NFC Forum's recent announcement about mandated tag formats for the NFC standard, the white paper provides an authoritative view of the technology, emerging NFC applications, the commercial drivers and markets, and describes how Innovision's technology and IC development expertise will enable the company to compete successfully in this space.
In June, Innovision Research & Technology launched Topaz, its low-cost NFC platform for consumer electronics and mobile devices, which is now one of the four mandated NFC tag formats. Topaz is designed to make the NFC applications outlined in the white paper - such as service initiation and mobile payments & ticketing transactions - possible using NFC-enabled mobile devices.
This is the first in a series of white papers on the subject of IC solutions for NFC.
What is NFC?
NFC is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables simple two-way interactions among electronic devices (such as digital cameras, mobile phones, PDAs and computers) allowing consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content and connect devices with a single touch. NFC also simplifies set-up of longer-range wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
NFC technology evolved from a combination of contactless identification and interconnection technologies. NFC operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range, over a typical distance of a few centimetres. The underlying layers of NFC technology are ISO, ECMA, and ETSI standards.
NFC technology is supported by the leading mobile device, infrastructure and technology manufacturers and by all major payment providers, and it is compatible with millions of contactless cards already in use worldwide.
According to ABI Research by 2009, 50 per cent of all mobile handsets will be NFC-enabled.
About Innovision Research & Technology plc
Innovision Research & Technology plc, is a leading NFC/RFID IC Design and solutions provider. At the heart of the emerging Near Field Communication (NFC) market, designing and developing solutions for the mobile handset and consumer device sectors the company also focuses on RFID and ultra low-cost Integrated Circuit (IC) and electronic design.
Innovision R&T develops innovative technologies and technology applications for commercialisation and then licenses the technology on to its customers who incorporate it into their own products. The company's work with customers includes pre-engineering studies, building of prototypes and complete product development through to production, including full custom silicon chip design.
Innovision R&T products include Topaz, mandated by the NFC Forum as the NFC number one tag format, Jewel for mass transit ticketing applications, and "io", the world's smallest standards compatible near field RFID reader.