What Is This NFC That You Speak Of?

Three Letter Acronyms (TLA's) are a convenience that I often feel unfortunately acts as a barrier to "the rest of us", and the technology universe is just bursting with them. In this case, NFC stands for "Near Field Communication" - which while admittedly a mouthful, is at least somewhat descriptive.

NFC is related to RFID (a FOUR letter acronym!), and you are probably familiar with RFID tags in stores and so on; the little tags than can be read by the checkout scanner (and the store's theft prevention system).

NFC technology allows a device like a cell phone to "talk" to another cell phone or terminal at very close range (a few inches). One of the more common uses of this technology in smartphones is as part of a payment system, where your smartphone acts almost like a proximity-type credit card (the ones where you just wave them at the card reader instead of swiping them). A much talked about recent use of NFC technology is the Apple Pay system announced in 2014.

Apple Pay in action - image: TechRadar

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