Introduction To Near Field Communication

Near field communication is a type of short range wireless communication.  It allows for transactions or information transmission between two devices which are near field communication enabled within a close proximity of each other.  In most cases information is transferred by tapping the two devices together or bumping them into each other.  Information can also be transmitted between two devices that are in close range of each other, approximately a few inches apart.  Users can store information in their smartphone such as credit card numbers which they could then use to make purchases in certain stores just by waving their phone near the cash register instead of having to carry their actual credit card.  It is anticipated that stores will begin to add this payment systems in the near future.


Additionally, near field communication could also be used for social networking functions.  Similarly to the way in which a purchase can be made by tapping the phone against a payment device, two phones enabled with near field communication could be tapped or bumped into each other to trade information.  This could include social networking data such as contact information or a business card.  Also, additional information can be stored within the system.  This can be information such as a type of identification including those for employee, personal, or student purposes or a type of keycard for a car, house, or other building.


Near field communication works in a very similar way to Bluetooth.  Although the data rate is slower than Bluetooth, the connection using near field communication is much faster.  There is no pre-set-up required so it takes less than a second to sync two devices, even if they have never communicated before.  This is what would make the proximity payment system possible, as any smartphone could be placed near a receptor device and transmit data, assuming of course that both devices were near field communication enabled.  Near field also has a shorter range that Bluetooth, which may initially be perceived as a disadvantage, however, this provides added security to the system as one would need to be in closer range to intercept data.  Information held on a near field enabled device is also encrypted for security purposes.


This new technology could be applied to restaurants much in the same way it is being used in other retail industries.  It could function as a way for customers to make payments, or even for regular customers, such as members of a loyalty program, to activate a discount or use a membership card.  This could be used in conjunction with QR codes to bring your restaurant’s technology to the next level for your patrons.


To learn more about near field communication, take a look at the following: