What is NFC?

Near Field Communication or shortly NFC is a wireless electromagnetic technology for communication of two devices on a short distance. This distance is usually a few centimetres.
From the very beginning, NFC was being developed with a view to be integrated into cell phones as well as other portable devices.


Currently, NFC has started being used in more and more applications every day.
Its first and most significant use has been contactless payments. You can currently get in touch with this technology in many chain stores.
An NFC cell phone may also be used to load NFC tags. An NFC tag is usually a contactless RFID label using NFC standards, which may contain a business card or a web link as well as be connected with social networks, etc.
Other uses include NFC door access control systems, which allow for entry into secured premises by applying a cell phone instead of a card.
Our company IMA s.r.o. is a pioneer in this field in the Czech Republic.
Many other uses of NFC technology can be found also on www.nfcsystems.eu


The history of NFC technology dates back to the year 2004, when the companies NOKIA, Phillips and Sony established an association NFC Forum. The forum handles the specification of NFC standards and brings together the producers, developers and other organizations dealing with NFC technology.
In 2006, NOKIA presented the first cell phone with NFC technology – NOKIA 6131.
In 2010, the first cell phone with Android OS – Samsung Nexus S was introduced.
As of April 2012, 48 cell phones supporting NFC technology are available on the market.


NFC technology operates in three modes:

  • Card Emulation Mode. In the mode of card emulation, the NFC device acts as a Smart card. This mode is used for contactless payments or programming of PATRON-PRO 1.0 system.
  • Peer-to-peer. In the peer2peer mode, the communication takes place between two NFC devices, which exchange data mutually between themselves. The P2P regime is also used for programming the PATRON-PRO 2.0 system.
  • Reader/Writer. In this mode, the NFC device is able to read and record NFC tags. It is used in the PATRON-PRO system to edit the database of authorized media.


NFC device An active device working in a mode according to the NFC forum. These modes include: 1. Card emulation, 2. Peer-to-Peer communication, 3. Reader/Writer
NFC tag A passive RFID tag, usually in the form of a sticker, card or keychain, formatted in NDEF according to NFC standards, used to save data and communicate with an NFC device
RFID “Radio Frequency Identification” – a technology patented already in 1983 and used for contactless identification via electromagnetic waves
Mifare A contactless chip in the ISO 14443A format with an internal memory of 4KB
Felica A chip from Sony, compatible with the ISO 14443A
NDEF “NFC Data Exchange Format” – a format for saving data into NFC tags or for communication via peer2peer protocol
SE “Secure Element” – the secured part for saving sensitive data, e.g. payment cards
TSM “Trusted Service Manager” – the intermediary between MNO and the service provider, serves to record data into the SE
MNO “Mobile Network Operator”
SAM “Secure Access Module” – a module for saving sensitive data, see SE