What It Does

NFC technology harmonizes today’s diverse contactless technologies, enabling solutions in areas such as information collection and exchange,  Access Control, health care, loyalty and coupons, transportation, payments, and consumer electronics.

What is NFC Technology and how does it work?

NFC-enabled devices are unique in that they can support three modes of operation: card emulation, peer-to-peer, and reader/writer. The NFC Forum technical specifications unlock the full capabilities of NFC technology for the different operating modes and are based on the ISO/IEC 18092 NFC IP-1, JIS X 6319-4 and ISO/IEC 14443 contactless smart card standards (referred to as NFC-A, NFC-B and NFC-F in NFC Forum specifications).

Card Emulation Mode

Card emulation mode enables NFC-enabled devices to act like smart cards, allowing users to perform transactions such as purchases, ticketing, and transit access control with just a touch.

In Card Emulation mode, the NFC-enabled device communicates with an external reader much like a traditional contactless smart card. This enables contactless payments and ticketing by NFC-enabled devices without changing existing infrastructure.

Adding NFC to a contactless infrastructure enables two-way communications. For the air transport industry, this could mean updating seat information while boarding, or adding frequent flyer points when making a payment.

Peer-to-Peer Mode

Peer-to-peer mode enables two NFC-enabled devices to communicate with each other to exchange information and share files, so that users of NFC-enabled devices can quickly share contact information and other files with a touch. For example, users can share Bluetooth or WiFi link set-up parameters or exchange data such as virtual business cards or digital photos.

Peer-to-peer mode is standardized on the ISO/IEC 18092 standard and based on NFC Forum’s Logical Link Control Protocol Specification.

Reader / Writer Mode

Reader/writer mode enables NFC-enabled devices to read information stored on inexpensive NFC tags embedded in smart posters and displays, providing a great marketing tool for companies.

In reader/writer mode, the NFC-enabled device is capable of reading NFC Forum-mandated tag types, such as a tag embedded in an NFC smart poster. The reader/writer mode on the RF interface is compliant with the NFC-A, NFC-B and NFC-F schemes.

Examples include reading timetables, tapping for special offers, and updating frequent flyer points.


Explore how the NFC Forum Specifications can help you make the most of NFC technology here»