Forum promotes touch-based interaction technology

Forum promotes touch-based interaction technology

Sony, Nokia and Philips Electronics have teamed together to promote a new technology dubbed Near Field Communication (NFC), which they claim will enable a range of touch-based interactions in consumer electronics, PCs and mobile devices.

The companies announced the NFC Forum at the show, aiming to promote standards and applications for the new technology, jointly developed by Sony and Philips.

NFC uses radio frequency identification (RFID) interconnection tech-nology, the companies said.

Operating in the 13.56MHz range, the technology allows users to transfer data over a few centimetres.

The companies are hoping to spur broad adoption of the technology, which would allow a mobile phone user to touch a device to a friend’s digital camera, for example, and transfer a digital image.

For larger data transfers, NFC would be complemented by other wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth. RFID would initiate the data transfer through the touch “handshake” and Bluetooth could then complete the data transfer between the devices at a greater distance than that allowed by NFC, they said.

NFC also works with contact-less smart card technology, such as the FeliCa cards Sony developed for payment applications and electronic ticketing in public transport.

It can be used for payment purposes, allowing users to, for instance, touch their mobile devices to a PC to buy music from an Internet portal.

“This easy and intuitive interaction between electronic devices changes the way information and services are accessed by consumers,” senior vice-president of Philips Semiconductors, Peter Baumgartner, said.

Because NFC operates in conjunction with smart cards, Bluetooth, infrared and other wireless technologies, the forum founders did not see NFC replacing existing technologies, but working alongside them, the companies said.

Sony, Nokia and Philips were inviting other companies to join the forum.

The group expected the first NFC application to be launched later this year, allowing consumers to more easily install a WiFi network in their home.

The group is working with broadband service providers to offer a smart card containing broadband and network settings that can then be swiped past a NFC-enabled WiFi base station, and any NFC-enabled devices in their home to swiftly configure their networks, the companies said.

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