Skip to main content

GLOBAL – Near Field Communication (NFC) is a word quite commonly used at the moment, but it’s often just that. A word. It’s rarely been used in the real-world, but it’s a great technology. Nokia have used NFC before, many times in many different countries, but what for? Read on to find out about the future, in the past.

NFC is a technology that enables the transfer of data – of various types – over a short distance, typically between 4cm or less. Much like the Oyster card system used on the London underground. You simply place the card against a reader and the gates open to allow you through to continue your journey, deducting some money from your card in the process.

Having an NFC enabled card is one thing, but having that technology on your mobile phone is another, meaning your could only ever have to leave the house with your phone and not your wallet or purse.

Nokia began creating NFC enabled phones back in 2005 and 2006 with the Nokia 3220 and Nokia 5140 with NFC modified back covers. But it wasn’t until 2007 that a fully working NFC phone was created – with the launch Nokia 6131 NFC – and Nokia is still using the technology today, here’s a number of ways in which Nokia have used NFC:

O2 – UK

Between November 2007 and May 2008, The O2 Wallet trial took place and 500 people had the chance to test this new system. Installed onto a Nokia 6131 NFC, this allowed users to travel on London’s transport network and purchase goods in retail stores, simply by touching their phone on a card reader. This pilot was introduced to see how NFC worked in normal every-day life and whether or not people found the technology useable.

RMV – Frankfurt

Again in 2007, the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund GmbH (RMV) tested together with its partners the “RMV-HandyTicket für NFCHandys” between July and November of that year. The 59 most visited stops in Frankfurt were equipped with passive NFC radio chips – called ConTags in Germany – where 270 people armed with either the Nokia 6212 classic or the Nokia 6131 NFC were asked to test this ticketing system on the transport network, by purchasing tickets and using the ConTags to retrieve time tables with real-time travel information.

Maxis – Kuala Lumpur

On 9 April 2009, the first NFC commercially available service began when Maxis launched global-first contactless mobile payment service with Nokia, Visa, Maybank and Touch ‘n Go. The project named Maxis FastTap gave people the ability to pay for items in retail shops and pay for transit, toll and parking with the same device, again using the Nokia 6212 classic.

Citi – Bangalore

In June 2010, more than 3,000 people signed up to take part in a pilot to use their phones as a payment method. Over a 26 weeks period, a staggering 50,000 purchases were made from 250 merchants had a NFC reader to accept the payments.

Haitian water – Haiti

As we reported at the beginning of March, Nokia is helping fight the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera, by using NFC. A RFID tag is fitted to a filtration bucket that each household owns to store their water. When a health worker comes to visit to check chlorine levels in the water, they use an NFC equipped Nokia 6212 classic to register their visit which launches an application on the phone. Within this app, workers input the chlorine levels, answer a questionnaire and then submit the data via SMS immediately back to the DSI headquarters.

These are just a few use-cases in which Nokia has trialled NFC around the world, and it seems that Nokia are well versed in the ways of NFC. We hope to see NFC used more and more in the future as we’d love to be able to use our phones for just about everything and anything. Would you? And what would you use it for?