NFC (near field communication technology) represents a further development of RFID technology, which is familiar from contactless access systems. With the integration of NFC technology in mobile phones, and now smartphones, the aim was to use these devices as contactless tickets for access and payment systems.

Since an NFC device can take on both the passive and the active part of a data transaction, an NFC-enabled smartphone is also capable of reading passive RFID tags/cards as well as other NFC devices. The data transaction does not require prior configuration. It starts automatically when the two “partners” are “brought into proximity”. The data rate is relatively low compared to Bluetooth, yet adequate for the data in these applications. If larger volumes of data are transmitted however, NFC is ideal for automatically setting up and configuring a Bluetooth or WLAN connection.

Measuring equipment with an integrated NFC interface can be accessed out-of-the-box (without pairing) by bringing the smartphone into proximity, allowing what is probably the easiest and most intuitive type of data transfer. This method was trialled in a number of tests, particularly with elderly people. Low maintenance cost proves to be a significant benefit as individual measuring devices can be replaced without additional configuration or device pairing.