What does NFC mean (Near Field Communication)?

NFC stands for „Near Field Communication“ and has been present on the market since quite a long period. This term designates the contact-free data transmission which makes use of the Radio-frequency identification (RFID-) technology. The worldwide standardized frequency figures at 13.56 MHz and provides for transmission ranges from five to ten centimeters.

The significant difference in comparison to the QR Code is that the NFC technology uses mobile end devices such as cellphones, tablets and notebooks for data exchange purposes. Consequently, several new apps coming also from the consumer sector such as intelligent posters, payment systems and interactive marketing events become possible.

Basically, the NFC sector is subdivided into three different modi:

1.    Card emulation mode: 
Your smartphone takes over the function of a contact-free card. You can thus open e.g. smartphone-compatible doors in a hotel or gain access to your company and the respective time is recorded as well. Your smartphone replaces the credit card also in relation to other payment solutions. You just place your smartphone at the cash desk on the reader and the financial transaction is processed.
2.    Reader/writer mode: 
Using this mode, the NFC chip content is being read out by your smartphone. This can be used e.g. for the so-called smart-posters. Making use of this app, you hold your smartphone to the chip that´s integrated into the poster, a mobile webpage is opened and you can directly buy the ticket to the concert in question or make a donation. Thus, your smartphone serves for reading out the chip in these apps.

3.    Peer-to-peer mode:
In this modus, there is a communication between two smartphones or a tablet going on. This means that data, contacts and pictures may be transmitted from one mobile device to another.

How is NFC used?

Passive NFC transponders may be used to label virtually all objects whereby these objects become „intelligent“ and gain access to the internet. „Make the unconnected connected“ becomes a reality. All objects of our everyday life start communicating with each other via internet thanks to the NFC technology. It´s only the NFC-technology that makes the IoT, mobile payment and smart-HOME possible. The NFC-compatible end devices (cellphones, tablets and notebooks with an integrated NFC interface) can rapidly read out the data stored on a NFC transponder and trigger further activities. The NFC-chip technologies can be integrated into all product groups of the smart-TEC portfolio.

Differences between NFC and the QR-code


NFC | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG
  • The NFC-interface is already integrated in virtually all cellphones
  • The NFC technology is standardized worldwide offering a broad range of applications – industry, logistics, marketing, automotive etc.
  • You don´t need any special app
  • According to the International Transmission standard, the frequency is 13.56 MHz and is based upon the ISO14443 standard or ISO15693
  • Maximum distance up to 5 cm and fast transmission establishment
  • Every NFC-chip has a worldwide unique identification number. Thus, every product becomes unique, retractable and an original as well.
  • Invisible integration into an already existing design, as no visual contact with the smartphone is needed.
  • A virtual 100 % first-pass read rate
  • The data on the chip can be supplemented, read out and changed at any time


QR-Code | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG
  • You need a special app on your cellphone in order to read the QR-code.
  • The QR-code can optically downgrade the customer layout
  • The code is vulnerable to dirt which dramatically reduces the first-pass read rate
  • QR-code-data cannot be changed = they are static, and unchangeable data
  • Long website URLs trigger a very large QR-code which leads to bad read rates



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