Event Tech Case Studies, Applications, Technologies
Category: RFID & NFC
The unique difference between RFID and NFC is the process by which items are uniquely identified using radio waves, and NFC is a specialized subset within the family of RFID technology. Specifically, NFC is a branch of High-Frequency (HF) RFID, and both operate at the 13.56 MHz frequency. NFC is designed to be a secure form of data exchange, and an NFC device is capable of being both an NFC reader and an NFC tag. This unique feature allows NFC devices to communicate peer-to-peer.
Near Field Communication (NFC) refers to short range communication between compatible devices. This requires at least one transmitting device, and another to receive the signal. A range of devices can use the NFC standard and will be considered either passive or active.
Similar to Bluetooth or wifi NFC works on the principle of sending information over radio waves. Near Field Communication is another standard for wireless data transitions. This means that devices must adhere to certain specifications in order to communicate with each other properly. The technology used in NFC is based on older RFID (Radio-frequency identification) ideas, which used electromagnetic induction in order to transmit information.
This marks the one major difference between NFC and Bluetooth/WiFi. The former can be used to induce electric currents within passive components as well as just send data. This means that passive devices don’t require their own power supply. They can instead be powered by the electromagnetic field produced by an active NFC component when it comes into range. Unfortunately, NFC technology does not command enough inductance to charge our smartphones, but QI charging is based on the same principle.
The transmission frequency for data across NFC is 13.56 megahertz. You can send data at either 106, 212, or 424 kilobits per second. That’s quick enough for a range of data transfers — from contact details to swapping pictures and music.
To determine what sort of information will be exchanged between devices, the NFC standard currently has three distinct modes of operation. Perhaps the most common use in smartphones is the peer-to-peer mode. This allows two NFC-enabled devices to exchange various pieces of information between each other. In this mode both devices switch between active when sending data and passive when receiving.
Read/write mode, on the other hand, is a one-way data transmission. The active device, possibly your smartphone, links up with another device in order to read information from it. NFC advert tags use this mode.
The final mode of operation is card emulation. The NFC device can function as a smart or contactless credit card and make payments or tap into public transport systems.
There are two types of NFC, passive or active.
Devices include tags, and other small transmitters, that can send information to other NFC devices without the need for a power source of their own. However, they don’t really process any information sent from other sources, and can’t connect to other passive components. These often take the form of interactive signs on walls or advertisements.
Devices are able to both send and receive data, and can communicate with each other as well as with passive devices. Smartphones are by far the most common form of active NFC device. Public transport card readers and touch payment terminals are also good examples of the technology.
Placing your smartphone within four inches of the Pay Pad or contactless reader will prompt your wallet or passbook and then ask you to confirm payment. With Apple Pay, this means placing your finger on the home button, which houses the Touch ID function. It also works with Android Pay and Samsung Pay.
Sharing between Android devices
When two enabled NFC devices are in range, a prompt will appear asking if you’d like to “Beam” whatever content (videos, contact information, or photos) is on-screen to the other Android device. Android devices have been able to use Android Beam for a while now, but it’s a little-known feature.
These “taps” can be programmed with apps like Tasker to perform certain tasks when scanned. For instance, you can put one on your desk and with a quick scan on the tap, you can set your phone to vibrate, disable GPS, or enable only work-related notifications, among other features.
‘Smart posters’ that offer static information and therefore specific to the announcement and visual display. Generally, an NFC tag is doubled by a QR code, a second possible technique, to ensure the maximum coverage of potential users.
In very ordinary cases, NFC technology employs one NFC reader and one NFC card or key. The key is normally coded with the tag data, which contains the information for authorizing the holder to access the designated room or area. That key is tapped over the NFC reader, which reads the information with the help of NFC communication protocol sets, and grants access to the authorized person. This communication is not limited only to authenticating and granting the access to the authorized person, but also records the access information, time, period of access, and many other parameters.
Similarly, a smart card is also being used in NFC enabled devices, such as tablets, mobiles and laptops to access the cloud based network and system resources over the internet. In this access control system, the smart card data is transmitted over the internet to the centralized location for granting of access into the entitled cloud computing resources.
There are many different types of readers that are extensively used in different access control applications; among those readers, an IP based modern access control reader is a highly featured, secure and reliable access control device available in the market. This reader can easily be integrated into an IT network for achieving the robust and secure access control with many additional security and operational features.
A latest form of NFC access control system is being managed through the mobile applications installed on the smart phones. Those mobile applications act as the key or an information tag for the NFC reader. When the mobile is swapped or tapped over the NFC reader, a communication channel is established over the air interface, and data transactions take place to authenticate the authority of the user to access the secured area, resources or applications.
RFID is an acronym for “radio-frequency identification” and refers to a technology whereby digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart labels (defined below) are captured by a reader via radio waves. RFID is similar to barcoding in that data from a tag or label are captured by a device that stores the data in a database. RFID, however, has several advantages over systems that use barcode asset tracking software. The most notable is that RFID tag data can be read outside the line-of-sight, whereas barcodes must be aligned with an optical scanner.
RFID belongs to a group of technologies referred to as Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). AIDC methods automatically identify objects, collect data about them, and enter those data directly into computer systems with little or no human intervention.
RFID methods utilize radio waves to accomplish this. At a simple level, RFID systems consist of three components: an RFID tag or smart label, an RFID reader, and an antenna. RFID tags contain an integrated circuit and antennas, which are used to transmit data to the RFID reader (also called an interrogator). The reader then converts the radio waves to a more usable form of data. Information collected from the tags is then transferred through a communications interface to a host computer system, where the data can be stored in a database and analysed at a later time.
Similar to NFC certain areas require an expected level of security and access. From doors to parking lots, RFID access control tags restrict access to only those pre-approved.
If you’ve ever managed a large conference before, you’ll know that it’s key to keep the flow of traffic moving at a steady pace, especially in and out of seminars. With an RFID attendee solution, eliminate the need for registration lines at entrances.
Many kiosks use RFID to either manage resources or interact with users. DVD rental kiosks use RFID DVD tags to make sure customers receive their selected movie rental. Other examples of RFID kiosks include interactive media displays where an embedded RFID reader interrogates badges or cards.
RFID in marketing brings a certain level of interaction to campaigns. Whereas traditional advertising campaigns push a message onto the consumer, interactive campaigns invite the consumer to engage with the brand.
Other Common Applications
Logistics and supply chain Visibility
Winning in the supply chain means increasing efficiency, reducing errors, and improving quality. In chaotic manufacturing, shipping, and distribution environments, real-time data on the status of individual items provides insights that turn into actionable measures.
Item inventory tracking
Tracking assets on the item level is beneficial across a broad cross-section of industries, but the retail sector has one of the highest ceilings in terms of opportunity from the use of RFID. As mentioned above, tracking items through the supply chain is wonderful, but now think about tracking items through the supply chain all the way to the point of sale. With a well-designed inventory system sharing data across all business units, you’ll have a treasure trove of actionable data. One last added benefit — store employees can count inventory in a matter of minutes with a handheld RFID reader.