Near Field Communication: the technology behind the phenomenon of bumping


“There’s no need to wander around the room bumping your phone with others,” said Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, as he takes a closer look at Android with mobile phones. Why? Because Google has equipped its Android with a technology that allows users to share content on mobile phones by simply bumping! This technology is called Near Field Communication and this article will tell you why it’s a game changer, much to Monsieur Federighi’s chagrin!

What is NFC?

Near Field Communication or the well-known abbreviation NFC is the transfer of data between devices that are physically close to each other. It goes without saying that they must be NFC-enabled. NFC is an offshoot of the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) protocol that uses electromagnetic fields (wireless) to set up data transfer between devices.

The advantage of this is that someone can have their NFC device close to another NFC device to communicate. Companies like Samsung have come up with a cool term “bumping”, although users don’t necessarily have to bump their devices!

Sneak peek into history

To establish a standard wireless communication path between mobile devices, Sony, Nokia and Philips joined forces in 2004 to form the NFC protocol. They’ve also put in place strict guidelines for hardware manufacturers who want to include NFC in their handsets. These include compatibility between devices regardless of NFC subscriber brand, protocol security, compatibility with other wireless technologies, and intra-NFC transmissions.

Notable features

The following points distinguish NFC from other wireless communication standards:

  • Based on RFID operating at 13.56 MHz
  • Effective in a range of 10 cm
  • Enables data rates of up to 424 kb/s
  • Sports an intuitive user interface
  • Allows other proprietary wireless network platforms to interoperate

These features are largely responsible for the popular use of NFC in various facets of mobility.


The features of NFC translate into benefits unmatched by other wireless data transfer technologies. Some of the benefits are listed for your understanding:

  • Versatile: NFC is compatible for use in a wide variety of industries, environments and genres.
  • Intuitive: Most NFC interactions can be accomplished with a simple touch.
  • Enabling technology: With NFC wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi enables quick and easy setup.
  • Interoperable: NFC is compatible with existing contactless card technologies.
  • Ready for security: NFC is equipped with capabilities to support secure applications. The short communication range negates any cleaning or hacking.
  • Standards based: NFC’s DNA contains ISO, ECMA and ETSI standards to illustrate its compliance.
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These benefits facilitate ease of use and a healthy user experience.


Well, the excitement that this technology exudes is not really complete until you read the following article. You may want to know how the NFC magic works, especially in the daily life of you and me. Watch out for the next episode!