NFC, growing player in the Internet of Things.

NFC, growing player in the Internet of Things.

Imagine a world where objects, animals or people have the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.Guess what? This scenario is already happening and it is called Internet of Things (IoT).

It started with lazy but smart thirsty programmers in the early 1980s at Carnegie Melon University. They managed to connect the Coke machine on the Internet to know if there were still cold drinks downstairs[i].

And this was only the beginning. Applications are continuously emerging in our daily lives.According to the GSMA, the IoT will have 24 billion devices connected by 2020 (vs 9 billion in 2011) generating a 1,2 trillion dollars revenue[i]. Cisco even said that IoT would have ten times more impact on society than Internet [ii].

But concretely, how can we build this intelligence into things?

NFC-TagWireless technologies are often mentioned to be cost-effective enablers of IoT. The latest innovation in wireless technology being Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC is a very-short range wireless technology based on and similar to RFID[iii] that can transfer small amounts of data between two devices held a few centimeters from each other[iv]. NFC allows a very intuitive, easy and secure connection between devices compared to other wireless technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. These are the main reasons of its expansion. So far, NFC has been widely used for payments and data communication. According to Berg Insight, the penetration rate of the NFC payment terminals should reach 87% in EU-27, 82% in North America, 68% in South America and 39% in the rest of the world[v].NFC is now rapidly growing in mobile devices. Since Nokia released the first NFC enabled mobile phone in 2006 (Nokia 6131), 109 NFC phone models have been produced worldwide, 84 being now available for purchase i.e. about 1 out of 4 phones soldviHIS Technology forecasts a 400% growth for NFC technology between 2013 and 2018 with 1,2 billion of units in 2018 and 2 out of 3 smartphones being NFC enabled[vi].

 Are you suspicious about such an optimistic forecast? Take a look at the following initiatives:

  • In the London Metro, 5000 volunteers are testing NFC as their transports tickets[vii].
  • BNP already adopted the NFC technology for its mobile payment solution KIX.
  • Casino Group is testing the NFC technology in its shopping centre of Belles Feuilles[viii].
  • Giphar, one of the biggest names in the pharmacy sector in France, plans to launch the NFC technology in the PACA region[ix].
  • Connected Rogers is the first magazine the reader can buy thanks to NFC[x].
  • China mobile and China UnionPay will launch NFC payment next June in 14 Chinese cities including Pekin and Shangai[xi].
  • NTT Docomo, the No.1 mobile operator in Japan with over 63 million subscribers selected Gemalto, the world leader in digital security for its mobile NFC services[xii].
  • McDonald’s rolled out NFC payments across all of its locations in Belgium in the spring of 2014 using Seamless’ Seqr mobile payments platform[xiii].
  • Select Air France Passengers who own smartphones equipped with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, will participate in a trial of an NFC-Based Boarding system on flights between Toulouse-Blagnac and Paris-Orly, using the airline’s Touch&Pass app, over the next six months[xiv].
  • Furniture giants IKEA have introduced NFC payments at certain stores[xv].
  • Nestlé runs NFC marketing campaign in 480 Woolworth stores across Australia[xvi].
  • According to the Taiwanese company KGI securities, Apple will include NFC in the iWatch and rumors are running for the iPhone 6[xvii].

The pipe dream becomes a reality…


[i]GSMA Announces the Business Impact of Connected Devices could be Worth US$4.5 Trillion in 2020. (2012, February 27). Newsroom. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from
[ii]Kar, S. (2014, March 7). Cisco Says Internet of Things will Have Ten Times More Impact on Society Than Internet. CloudTimes. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from
[iii]Kumar, V. (2013, September 17). NFC in the Internet of Things (IoT). – ConnecTIng Wirelessly. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from
[iv]Carter, J. (2013, January 16). What is NFC and why is it in your phone?. TechRadar. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from
[v]CITC-EuraRFID • Innovation Center for Contactless Technologies chiffres déploiement du NFC
[vi]Martin, Z. (2014, February 12). Consultancy: 400% increase in NFC shipments 2018 – SecureIDNews.SecureIDNews. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from
[vii]Boden, R. (2014, April 24). TfL tests NFC for London Underground ticket payments – NFC World. NFC Worlds RSS. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from
[viii]Curtis, S. (2013, April 3). How NFC is transforming the weekly shopping experience.TechWorld Rss. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from
[ix]Dyer, K. (2013, October 1). French pharmacies to test NFC shopping service – NFC World.NFC Worlds RSS. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from
[x]Video: Pay with Your Smartphone – Connected Rogers. (2013, February 27). Connected Rogers. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from
[xi]10 Largest NFC Implementations in the World. (2013, July 10). Welcome to Startupbootcamp. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from
[xvii]Court, D. (2014, March 14). iPhone 6 release date, news and rumours 2014: When will Apple’s new iPhone 6 be launched?. PC Advisor News RSS. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from