Blog

Smart Solutions: Leverage NFC Technology for Intelligent IoT
Written By: Kirtika Banerjee

From smart homes to smartphones, NFC in conjunction with IoT (Internet of Things) brings a wide range of benefits. Discover all the reasons why IoT and NFC are an excellent match.

Mobile devices are an integral part of our lives, from checking the weather or booking an appointment or even for staying connected in real-time. Now that mobile devices are also the go-to payment tool, so you can leave your wallet at home and go cash-less.

All of this is possible due to NFC (Near Field Communication) technology that makes Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or even your contactless debit and credit cards work. However, NFC can be used for many more use cases and is a technology worth paying attention to in 2022.

What is NFC?

NFC or near fear communication originates from radio frequency identification technology (RFID) which works with the electromagnetic fields to transfer information. NFC devices come with a small chip that gets activated when the device is in proximity to another NFC device or chip of approximately 10 centimeters, which enables safe and seamless two-way interactions between electronic devices.

The two types of NFC devices — active and passive consist of smartphones (active) which can send and receive data and NFC tags (passive) only transfer data when the active devices read it.

The three modes of NFC data-exchange include reader or writer mode which aids one-way data transmission, used by NFC advertisement tags; peer-to-peer mode is mostly used in smartphones to share different types of data, both the devices switch between active to passive while data exchange; and card emulation mode is used to purchases or tap into public networks.

Real Use Cases of NFC:

NFC technology deployed in IoT can be used for various purposes. However, the current usage of NFC in the real world is noteworthy.

  • Contactless transactions — Ever since the pandemic molded the world to change its rigidity and switch to seamless methods, NFC presented a great scope in replacing cash. Users can easily hover their smart device next to a smart tag or NFC-enabled device and exchange data in almost no time.
  • Connect electronic devices with one tap — Home automation is one key aspect where NFC comes into play as for home makeovers, hobbyists are using the essence of smart devices under one remote. Guests can simply scan the smart tag to connect their devices to the Wi-Fi at one tap.
  • Share business cards — As easy as it can get, save your extra buck on text messages or time by directly sharing business cards via NFC without a nudge or handshake.
  • Access information from a smart poster — Nowadays, there is a great amount of deal with the “smart” posters attached with NFC tag that redirects to websites, extra information of the cause, and even the payment details to consider the least. Just scan and you are good!
  • Download digital content — NFC technology enables easy access to digital content with a tap or scan to receive or download your information at your fingertips.
  • Counterfeit product identification — Many organizations are implementing an entirely new way for customers to identify the authenticity of any product. NFC labels attached to any product display the product’s status and originality when a customer scans.
  • Provide credentials for security systems — NFC is used in many prohibited areas for restricted security access which enables personnel to use their badge, phone, wristband, or key fob to open and access these restricted areas.
  • Extend user interface for machinery — The lesser-known purpose of NFC is to extend the screen-time of machinery with minimal screen size, it can be easily connected to a smartphone or tablet for monitoring and accurately configuring complex settings, enhancing the new levels of interaction without additional buttons. Similarly, error diagnostics, maintenance history, and machine functioning can also be easily acquired.

How Secure is NFC?

Experts state that NFC is fundamentally secure by the virtue of short-range networking. A hacker must be uncomfortably close to the source which is likely to get suspicious. Eavesdropping or grabbing an NFC signal from thin air, the hacker can’t simply brush up against your phone if it is in standby mode. Even if a hacker is in proximity, NFC signals are too sensitive in terms of direction — such as if the phone is slightly turned away, it won’t be able to read a smart tag.

Pro-hackers might pilfer data through other means as a longer range of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals and scan out people without any password or encryption on their devices. There are also instances of hackers corrupting tags and then loading their malicious codes such as a text message going to an unknown device, instead of the main purpose of the tag.

To avoid any such miscellaneous data leaks, it is ideal to not tap on any tags that are available freely in public places without any physical protection. Even if you do come across one as such, look out for what the tag aims to prompt the device, warnings as pop-ups speak of something awry.

NFC is comparatively more secure than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, as it operates on a shorter range providing a more stable connection. Therefore, NFC attempts to be a better solution for congested places, where several devices are trying to communicate while creating signal interference.

Benefits of NFC in IoT

NFC and IoT are pole opposites with a similar set of benefits — one to aid communication between two devices and the other is a system for data transfer and collection. Therefore, the collaboration of both technologies only bridges the gaps. The easy implementation of NFC doesn’t require pairing codes to connect and runs on extremely low power to solve many challenges associated with IoT.

  • NFC seamlessly connects two different IoT devices and intuitively reduces the configurations. No hassle of wire management, phew!
  • NFC provides data security with built in features to prevent eavesdropping, as well as deploy additional options for thorough security to fit each instance.
  • NFC further defends against unauthorized entry of hackers to fully grant the customers the safe space to act towards a transaction.
  • NFC tags also share data passively without an IoT link or power switched on. NFC-enabled computers can tap it to receive information and links.

Near Field Communication and the Internet of Things are a solid combination when implemented together. Indeed, the robust case for NFC is in the way it drives the ever-growing IoT. The straightforward tap-and-go function provides an easy way to pair two IoT devices, making it an ideal bridge between other connections like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. NFC will help IoT to scale up and adapt to the changing demands while maintaining the complexities of multiple functionalities, increase ease of use, enhance security, and drive the current IoT technology towards greater heights.

The Systech Solutions, Inc. Blog Series is designed to showcase ongoing innovations in the data and analytics space. If you have any suggestions for an upcoming article, or would like to volunteer to be interviewed, please contact Kirtika Banerjee at kirtikab@systechusa.com.

Recent Blogs

Managed Services 101

Are you in the pursuit of efficiency? Find out more about Managed Services, and how you can achieve a transformational outcome with your Managed Services Provider (MSP) and partner.

read more