Near Field Communications

June 7, 2011

We are currently really interested in the variety of mobile use options presented by near filed communication (NFC), which allows devices to seamlessly and intuitively communicate with one another, enabling an easy, convenient user experience.

NFC is basically a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 10 cm or less, the technology always involves an initiator and a target and can take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries. NFC peer-to-peer communication is also possible, where both devices are powered.  NFC tags currently contain anything from simple data to elaborate instructions that enable them to unlock doors, pay for goods, launch phone calls or exchange data between users.  The below (4 year old) video from MIT gives a good idea of some of the possible uses.

NFC is already available on a number of phones and will be on all mobiles within a few years (kinda like the ‘new GPS’).  The technology opens up amazing new possibilities for health and development programmes/approaches, both from a professional and individual user perspective.  We want to map to these out and help the development/health community be at the forefront of this technology, as it rolls out!