Proponents say that near field communication (NFC) technology will change the world. With a simple tap of your mobile phone you'll be able to pay for things, download information from posters, and open doors.
Many tech pundits, however, are skeptical about NFC. Some say there are better ways to do the same things. Others think NFC has a critical mass problem: Retailers won't invest in NFC infrastructure until everyone has NFC handsets, and manufacturers won't make NFC a standard feature on handsets until NFC infrastructure becomes ubiquitous.
The skeptics are mistaken. Retail businesses will flock to NFC once they see that it speeds checkout and creates new opportunities for interacting with customers. Consumers will warm to NFC when they discover that its tap-and-go operation is simple, convenient, and puts them in control.
New technologies don't succeed just because they promise unique capabilities or superior performance. The first customers must contend with high prices, a steep learning curve, and market inertia. But new technologies do succeed provided that they deliver qualitative advantages. NFC passes this test.
A Game Changer
NFC is a wireless security game-changer. NFC is as close to a cable connection as you can get with wireless. Though NFC operates at radio frequencies it communicates via the near field effect (also known as magnetic induction). Put another way, NFC antennas are designed to suppress the radio signal, leaving just the near field signal. If NFC's short range were merely due to the use of low power transmitters, then it could still be hacked from further away using sophisticated equipment. However, NFC's range is only 4 -- 20 centimeters because near field signals die out quickly as you move away from the antenna.
Ironically, NFC's exceptional physical layer security gives device manufacturers the confidence to make its default setting "on." As security specialist Charlie Miller demonstrated at a recent Black Hat conference, a hacker could surreptitiously connect to an NFC phone while brushing past its owner. What this means in practice is that a hacker has a better chance of tricking an NFC phone into visiting a malicious Web site when the user isn't looking than intercepting an NFC payment. However, such attacks can be thwarted by quarantining data until approved by the user, adding a button that must be depressed when using NFC, or doing a better job detecting software exploits. (continued...)
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Recommended Reading: The History of Wireless: How Creative Minds Produced Technology for the Masses
Synopsis: The History of Wireless reads like a novel. It chronicles the discoveries and inventions that led to today's mass market. Available for the Kindle and in paperback.
Posted: 2012-12-01 @ 1:58pm PT
There is also a technology on the market now that is used for mobile authentication and is compatible with IOS, which is something that NFC is severely lacking right now. It also can be done for a fraction of the cost. Check out www.snowshoestamp.com for more information.