Just as you would walk across a room full of people to have a private conversation with someone, rather than shouting across it so that everyone could hear, Near Field Communication (NFC) uses the same principle to link electronic devices.
It enables the user to exchange all kinds of information, in security, simply by bringing two devices close together. Its short-range interaction over a few centimeters greatly simplifies the whole issue of identification, as there is less confusion when devices can only "hear" their immediate neighbors.
Evolving from a combination of contactless identification (RFID) and interconnection technologies, NFC technology bridges today's connectivity gap. It enables the simple transfer of information -- from phone numbers to electronic transactions -- and allows people to interact with their environment without needing to navigate complicated menus or perform complex set-up procedures.
NFC opens up myriad new opportunities for our consumer lifestyles. It will enable people to effortlessly connect digital cameras, PDAs, set-top boxes, computers and mobile phones. With NFC it is possible to connect any two devices to each other to exchange information or access content and services, easily and securely.
Imagine seeing a poster advertising a concert with your favorite band. By flashing your mobile phone or PDA near the poster you download information about the event from a smart chip in the poster. After finding out more about the concert, you can immediately buy tickets and store them electronically on your handheld device. On the night of the concert you can access the venue without ever having the need for a paper ticket. More than just a wireless connection, NFC is a basic tool allowing you to instinctively interact with your electronic environment.
NFC technology is jointly developed and promoted by Philips and Sony. It operates in the 13.56 MHz frequency range, over a distance of a few centimeters, and at data rates of 106 kbits/s and 212 kbits/s.