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July 5, 2011

Abracadabra! 10 magical facts about NFC

Google NFC and you get more than 42 million results. But how much do you actually know about Near-Field Communications? Even though it’s getting a ton of coverage, to many of us it still feels something of a mystery. To help you get a clearer picture of this magical technology, we’ve unearthed some astonishing facts and stats.

1. The origins of NFC can be traced back to 1945 when Leon Theremin invented a listening device called The Thing. The device was used by the Soviet Union to spy on the American ambassador in Moscow. Because it used passive techniques to transmit an audio signal, it’s considered a predecessor to current RFID technology, which in turn led to NFC.

2. In 2004, Nokia along with Philips and Sony established the Near Field Communication Forum. Its aim was to promote NFC technology, while establishing standards that ensured any NFC enabled mobile device could be used to make a credit card payment. The Forum now has over 140 member companies.

3. As far back as 2005, Nokia launched the Nokia 3220 with an NFC-modified back cover. But it was only really in 2007 with the Nokia 6131 NFC, that the tech started to make waves.

4. Earlier this year, Juniper Research said 20 per cent of all smartphones would be NFC-enabled by the year 2014. That works out at a whopping 300 million.

5. Last month, Nokia launched the world’s first NFC enabled speaker, The Nokia Play 360°. Simply tap your phone on the speaker and it wirelessly streams music from your smartphone.

6. At the NFC hub it’s now even possible to order your own NFC-tags, posters and business cards. You choose and create printed products with attached/integrated NFC-tags and the NFC hub supplies them to you ready made with all the relevant encoding and printing. Just like that.

7. NFC can transfer data between totally different devices. For example, NFC-equipped smartphones like the Nokia N9 can send photos to NFC-equipped TV sets.

8. Since 2003, millions of Londoners have been using NFC Oyster travel cards. Five million are touched against readers on the Underground every single day. In fact, they’re so popular, they even brought one out to celebrate the Royal Wedding.

9. In the future, the Nokia Research Centre predicts, physical walls will be as interactive as their Facebook equivalents, thanks to high-speed NFC.

10. Between 2006 and 2008, Oulu in Finland became the world’s most NFC tagged city with 1500 NFC info tags installed in everywhere from buses and bus stops to pubs, restaurants and theatres. The project funded by the European ITEA research program was called SmartTouch.

Hopefully this has given you a better insight into the magical world of NFC. Know any other interesting facts or stats that will dazzle us? Then please do pull them out of your hat.