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Monday, February 9, 2015

Phone tapping ~ Near Field communication (NFC) technology

Have you heard of ‘NFC’ and have you used it ?

This post is not for techno-buffs ~ but for commoners (like me) – who struggle with their phone often wondering why there are so many unexplored fields ! In 1990s the revolution in TV sets – was the remote control – before that people had to go near the TV and change channel manually – perhaps no complaint at a time when you had DD1 and few hours of DD2.  The remote control uses  light waves just beyond the visible spectrum of light—infrared light waves—to change channels on  the TV as also in Airconditioners and other equipment. 

If you are to read technical specifications of equipments – often you are baffled.  Not many of us are clear on what exactly we expect in our mobile phone and whether any of its special features are indeed useful ! – of course a phone with a good camera is attractive.  Nokia Lumia 1020 is special – it has a  ‘41 megapixel camera sensor’, 11.43 cm display size, Full HD video and Nokia Rich Recording for incredible audio capture.  How many really take pictures regularly with their phones and whether they are put to print ? – if it were to be simply seen on a computer screen, perhaps you don’t require such high MP – there are many phones which provide quality output – iPhone 6 Plus, for example, has extremely fast autofocus and a dual-LED flash, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active can survive dunks underwater and drops to the ground.

A decade ago, shift to colour mobile came first and then camera /video mobiles.  From Nokia 3310 & 3315 – it was a shift to Sony Ericsson in 2005 – its K series – k300i was priced around Rs.6150/- and it had a camera – VGA one at that – no memory card slot and came with internal memory of 15 MB ! – with installed programme, users were able to transfer the photos to computer.

For transferring images / files from one mobile to another – it was ‘infrared’ technology.   Infrared (IR) is invisible radiant energy, electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths than those of visible light. Most of the thermal radiation emitted by objects near room temperature is infrared. Infrared radiation was discovered in 1800 by astronomer Sir William Herschel, who discovered a type of invisible radiation in the spectrum beyond red light, by means of its effect upon a thermometer.  Infrared technology allows computing devices to communicate via short-range wireless signals. The infrared transmission technology used in computers is similar to that used in consumer product remote control units.

Computer infrared network adapters both transmit and receive data through ports on the rear or side of a device. Infrared adapters are installed in many laptops and handheld personal devices. In Microsoft Windows, infrared connections can be created through the same method as other local area network connections.  This technology worked within a very short distance only and the two devices had to be placed nearby and were not to be disturbed while the process was on.  Infrared network signals cannot penetrate walls or other obstructions and work only in the direct "line of sight."
Now most of the devices do not come with this infrared and this would not work with newer O/S.  Bluetooth was much more advanced; this wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances has been a great hit and is used in handsfree sets too.  Invented by telecom vendor Ericsson in 1994,  it was originally conceived as a wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables. It can connect several devices, overcoming problems of synchronization.

Now moving to NFC – ‘NFC’  stands for near field communication, a technology that allows two devices to "talk" to each other wirelessly at close range.  In some phones, you can share photos / files from one phone to another by simply tapping the two together ! It's pretty amazing, actually. Windows Phone supports a type of wireless communication called NFC (near field communication) that lets you transfer files and other things quickly and wirelessly, at close range.  As long as your Windows Phone supports NFC, and the device you're sharing with does too, you can transfer photos, contacts, websites, and a lot more. You can even tap to wirelessly pair two devices, such as your phone and a set of speakers.  This is available on Windows mobiles.

The app is pretty simple.  On both the mobiles, turn on ‘tap to share’ – in the App list, tap photos, then tap photo that is to be shared – tap to share – hold your phone back to back with the other device.  On the receiving phone, tap accept to transfer. 
NFC chips are small—so small that sometimes they're embedded in business cards, magazine advertisements, posters, restaurant menus, and so on. You can tap your phone to any one of these to get different types of info. For example, if a business card supports NFC, you can tap your phone to it to get the person's contact info or website.
Amazing indeed

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

9th Feb 2015.

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