Near field communication (NFC) is a standards-based connectivity technology for smart phones and similar type devices to provide contactless wireless connections and data exchange between two devices in close proximity. It is an evolution of the RFID technology. NFC can be interoperable, working with existing contactless card technology. It is inherently secure as the transmission range is short range, up to a few centimeters.
NFC is becoming a possible option for controlling access and making purchases using a device that has monetary and emotional value, a smart phone. Unlike an employee badge or student identification card, a smart phone has value to the owner. Not only does the telephone have a cost above and beyond the existing forms of identification cards and badges, but the emotional value and stored memories often far exceed a dollar amount.
Uses of an NFC-equipped smart phone include gaining access to home and office, logging onto computers, online banking, and online and “brick and mortar” merchandise purchases as well as paying for meals and theatre. Other advantages of smart phones include GPS capabilities, plus surfing the Internet for bus schedules, maps, etc.
A number of surveys have found similar results; a large percentage of high school and college aged students are very attached to their smart phones. They are never far away from their “phone.” This basically eliminates sharing. This mentality works well with the major problem of traditional access badges/ID cards; lost, loaned or forgotten.
There is a continuing effort by management to reduce the actual card costs and managing costs of badges and cards that are lost, forgotten, misplaced, need to be upgraded and employee departure. Most smart phone owners would be willing to use their personal phone as the NFC-enabled smart phone. This is advantageous; assigning the credential to a smart phone is significantly less expensive than preparing and delivering a personalized badge or ID card.
Student or employee provided smart phones will significantly drop the costs of providing and managing the credential. This will require almost universal compatibility. In addition, employees, students, etc., are significantly less likely to misplace or forget their smart phone, greatly reducing the cost resulting from temporary access credentials.
Applications for Near Field Communications are staggering, according to the following recent news reports from all over the world.
Nearly One-Third of Britons Want Mobile Payments Now
According to CBR Online, nearly one-third of the United Kingdom consumers are “chomping at the bit” to use their smart phones to pay for goods and services, despite endless delays by the industry players in rolling out mobile payment platforms. NFC has long been available on credit and debit cards.
Samsung Staff to Get NFC ID
According to Daum.net, some 40,000 Samsung staff based at the headquarters in Suwon, South Korea, will begin using NFC phones instead of ID badges to gain access to buildings during the second half of 2012.
HID Global’s NFC Pilot Completed at Arizona State University
The project at Arizona State University included RIM smart phones, Verizon Wireless and HID Global. Student could use the smart phones to open doors using digital credentials.
IR Security Technologies Tests at Villanova University
A select group of students are using NFC-enabled smart phones to gain access at Villanova. This pilot program is using the NFC-based mobile keys service developed by Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies in conjunction with student services provider CBORD. CBORD is a provider of campus ID card software for colleges and universities.
Spanish-based Salto Systems integrated NFC technology with their RFID locks equipped with MiFare protocol in 2006. At the international headquarters, employees are able to gain access using either a badge/ID card or their personal smart phone.
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