How Can RFID Be Integrated into a Cell-Phone Platform?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Can RFID Be Integrated into a Cell-Phone Platform?
RFID Journal Staff asked 14 years ago

How might I go about achieving the integration of cell-phone technology with radio frequency identification?

—Name withheld


Hmmm. If your question is a technical one about how to add Near-Field Communications (NFC) technology to a phone, then the best folks to approach would be the NFC Forum, which will host an event as part of RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 (to be held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 14). That might be a good place to start.

Near-Field Communication is a short-range version of RFID that enables devices to communicate—similar to Bluetooth. NFC-enabled phones can be used as both a tag and a reader. You could, for instance, store money on the NFC chip in your phone, and have it deducted when you wave your phone over a point-of-sale reader. The chip can also read tags, so tests have been conducted in which you could read a tag on a movie poster, get information and order tickets.

If your question pertains to how RFID, in a broader sense, becomes part of mobile commerce, then that is more difficult to answer. Many people envision a day in the near future when you will be able to read a tag on, say, a pair of pants, and use an application on your iPhone or other smart phone to obtain information regarding other available colors and styles, as well as check whether it is in stock, e-mail a photo to your girlfriend to see if she likes it, and so forth.

The problem is that NFC uses high-frequency (HF) technology, whereas many retailers employ ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) systems to track their goods in the supply chain. So the phone wouldn't be able to read the type of tags that are put on garments. The Auto-ID Labs at St. Gallen, in Switzerland, has been doing research to try to bring the two technologies together (see RFID for Everyone).

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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