In the next five years, NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is poised to undergo significant advancements, potentially eliminating the need for physical contact when making payments or accessing train stations. The NFC Forum, responsible for defining NFC standards, has unveiled its roadmap for research and development in the field of near field communication, extending until 2028. Among the key objectives for the technology’s future, expanding its range takes precedence.
Currently, NFC operates effectively when two enabled devices are within a mere 5 millimeters of each other. However, the NFC Forum is actively exploring the possibilities of extending this range to approximately “four to six times the current operating distance” — around 30 millimeters or 1.18 inches. This expansion could facilitate faster and more successful transactions, as greater range reduces the precision required for antenna alignment.
Additionally, the NFC Forum aims to enhance the existing NFC wireless charging specification, which currently stands at 1 watt, by increasing it to 3 watts. This improved capability would enable wireless charging in “new and smaller form factors,” although specific examples were not provided by the forum.
One promising potential feature of future NFC technology involves supporting multiple actions with a single tap. The NFC Forum outlined various use cases, such as point-to-point receipt delivery, loyalty identification, and total-journey ticketing. If realized, this advancement would allow individuals to validate transit or venue tickets for their entire family using just one tap or a single device. Furthermore, NFC-enabled smartphones may serve as point-of-sale devices, expanding their functionality beyond traditional payment terminals. Apple’s Tap to Pay feature already enables iPhone owners to utilize their devices for payments, and a standardized capability would extend this convenience to a broader audience, particularly in developing countries where Android devices are more prevalent, empowering small businesses and shops.
Although these plans are at different stages of development, the NFC Forum has not provided a specific timeline for their implementation. However, they anticipate a two to five-year timeframe for the realization of these advancements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NFC technology
What is NFC technology?
NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is a wireless communication technology that enables short-range data exchange between two devices when they are in close proximity to each other.
How does NFC technology work?
NFC works by establishing a connection between two devices (such as a smartphone and an NFC terminal) when they are brought within close range, typically a few centimeters. It uses radio frequency identification (RFID) and operates on the principle of electromagnetic induction.
What are the potential advancements in NFC technology?
The NFC Forum has outlined several potential advancements for NFC technology. These include increasing the range of NFC communication, allowing for faster transactions and reduced precision requirements for antenna alignment. Other advancements include improving NFC wireless charging capabilities and enabling multiple actions with a single tap.
What are the benefits of NFC technology becoming faster and fully contactless?
Faster and fully contactless NFC technology offers several benefits. It allows for quicker and more convenient transactions, as users can simply tap their devices without the need for physical contact. It also enhances transaction efficiency and reduces the chances of failed transactions. Furthermore, expanded NFC capabilities may enable smartphones to serve as versatile point-of-sale devices and facilitate wireless charging in various form factors.
When will these NFC advancements be available?
The NFC Forum has not provided a specific timeline for the availability of these advancements. However, they anticipate that the plans will be realized within a timeframe of two to five years.
More about NFC technology
- NFC Forum: Official website of the NFC Forum, the organization responsible for defining NFC standards.
- Near Field Communication (NFC) Technology: An in-depth overview of NFC technology and its applications from NFC World.
- NFC Wireless Charging: Information about NFC wireless charging and its potential advancements.
- Apple Pay: Learn more about Apple’s Tap to Pay feature, which utilizes NFC technology for contactless payments.
- RFID Journal: A resource for news and insights on RFID and NFC technologies.
- Wireless Power Consortium: The organization behind the development and promotion of the Qi wireless charging standard, which NFC wireless charging may be built upon.