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NFC technology | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG

What does NFC mean (Near Field Communication)?

NFC stands for „Near Field Communication“ and has been present on the market since quite a long period. This term designates the contact-free data transmission which makes use of the Radio-frequency identification (RFID-) technology. The worldwide standardized frequency figures at 13.56 MHz and provides for transmission ranges from five to ten centimeters.

The significant difference in comparison to the QR Code is that the NFC technology uses mobile end devices such as cellphones, tablets and notebooks for data exchange purposes. Consequently, several new apps coming also from the consumer sector such as intelligent posters, payment systems and interactive marketing events become possible.

Basically, the NFC sector is subdivided into three different modi:

1.    Card emulation mode: 
Your smartphone takes over the function of a contact-free card. You can thus open e.g. smartphone-compatible doors in a hotel or gain access to your company and the respective time is recorded as well. Your smartphone replaces the credit card also in relation to other payment solutions. You just place your smartphone at the cash desk on the reader and the financial transaction is processed.
2.    Reader/writer mode: 
Using this mode, the NFC chip content is being read out by your smartphone. This can be used e.g. for the so-called smart-posters. Making use of this app, you hold your smartphone to the chip that´s integrated into the poster, a mobile webpage is opened and you can directly buy the ticket to the concert in question or make a donation. Thus, your smartphone serves for reading out the chip in these apps.

3.    Peer-to-peer mode:
In this modus, there is a communication between two smartphones or a tablet going on. This means that data, contacts and pictures may be transmitted from one mobile device to another.

How is NFC used?

Passive NFC transponders may be used to label virtually all objects whereby these objects become „intelligent“ and gain access to the internet. „Make the unconnected connected“ becomes a reality. All objects of our everyday life start communicating with each other via internet thanks to the NFC technology. It´s only the NFC-technology that makes the IoT, mobile payment and smart-HOME possible. The NFC-compatible end devices (cellphones, tablets and notebooks with an integrated NFC interface) can rapidly read out the data stored on a NFC transponder and trigger further activities. The NFC-chip technologies can be integrated into all product groups of the smart-TEC portfolio.

Differences between NFC and the QR-code


NFC | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG
  • The NFC-interface is already integrated in virtually all cellphones
  • The NFC technology is standardized worldwide offering a broad range of applications – industry, logistics, marketing, automotive etc.
  • You don´t need any special app
  • According to the International Transmission standard, the frequency is 13.56 MHz and is based upon the ISO14443 standard or ISO15693
  • Maximum distance up to 5 cm and fast transmission establishment
  • Every NFC-chip has a worldwide unique identification number. Thus, every product becomes unique, retractable and an original as well.
  • Invisible integration into an already existing design, as no visual contact with the smartphone is needed.
  • A virtual 100 % first-pass read rate
  • The data on the chip can be supplemented, read out and changed at any time


QR-Code | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG
  • You need a special app on your cellphone in order to read the QR-code.
  • The QR-code can optically downgrade the customer layout
  • The code is vulnerable to dirt which dramatically reduces the first-pass read rate
  • QR-code-data cannot be changed = they are static, and unchangeable data
  • Long website URLs trigger a very large QR-code which leads to bad read rates

Functionality of NFC-Technology

NFC in everyday life – application examples

smart-TEC reference projects

Campus Graz  | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG

Campus 02

Interactive adverts
The University of Applied Sciences in the Austrian City of Graz emphasizes attracting new students to the automation technology study program in a creative way. A smart-TEC made NFC-label provides the students with information about the study program in a fast and simple way. And here´s the clou: The NFC-label isn´t write-protected and invites for experimenting and trying out.

AIREX | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG


The intelligent mat
The intelligent mat does not only make you fit but also leads you directly into the internet. The NFC chip integrated directly into the mat provides the customer with information such as exercise videos, care information, nutrition tips, supplementary products and many more when placing the smartphone on the mat.

System zur Dokumentation der Wartung von Schutzausrüstung | smart-TEC | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG


Documentation via App
Safety first! The NFC label designed especially for the Haberkorn company represents a robust, long-living product with a nice form and documents the use and the maintenance of life-saving protection equipment, reducing the bureaucratic load at the same time. 

Fitness First | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG


Digital customer loyalty
All Vodafone shops in Germany have been equipped with the NFC-compatible POS-stand made by smart-TEC. While the customer is waiting he/she may hold his/her cellphone against the POS stand receiving thus news and service offers that are displayed directly on his smartphone. Furthermore, this special smart-TEC cloud solution gives Vodafone the opportunity to adapt the displayed information depending upon the daytime and the respective shop.

Amnesty International: Spenden mit NFC | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG


Donation campaign
In order to make a donation during this campaign, donors merely have to touch the NFC-tag with their smartphone and are then redirected to a mobile website of the project partner Twingle. There, they have the opportunity to select among several amounts to be donated which are subsequently accounted when you receive your next telephone bill.

Smartem | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG


In order to provide for the updatedness of the life-saving equipment manuals, an NFC type plate appropriate for applications under adverse surrounding conditions as well as for use under the open air has been designed. Following a successful registration, the users thus gain access to all relevant data and information.

Spielkarten | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG

Fusionplay - heroes

Game cards
A new card game breaking the limits between the real and the digital world. The game cards have an integrated NFC-function communicating via an app with the smartphone melting thus the real and the digital world – it´s a new game experience that´s innovative and makes fun. The game itself runs on the smartphone. The NFC-based game cards that are pushed under the smartphone direct the way the game develops.

RFID-Tickets Deutsche Bahn | © smart-TEC GmbH & Co. KG

Deutsche Bahn

Cashless payments at the German railway
Being an innovation leader, the Deutsche Bahn has recognized the NFC-advantages early and developed the Touch&Travel e-Ticketing. For these purposes, stations across the whole country were equipped with a very innovative NFC-label made by smart-TEC. When boarding or unboarding a train, you just hold your cellphone to the NFC label. You then receive a monthly overview (similar to your phone bill) of the connections you used and the ticket fares resulting from this are charged directly.