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Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal (ISSN 1992-8424), is an international scientific journal dedicated to advancing the information and communication technology. With a world-wide membership, UBICC is a leading resource for computing professionals and students working in the disciplines of information technology and the impact on society. In particular UBICC journal provides global perspective on new developments in ubiquitous and pervasive computing technologies. The journal is committed to provide platform to present discuss and exchange experimental or theoretical results, trend-setting ideas in the emerging field of ubiquitous computing and related disciplines. UBICC publishes peer-reviewed, interesting, timely and accessible contributions from researchers from all over the globe. The Journal is an essential resource for researchers and educators who wish to understand the implications of ubiquitous computing. In addition to regular publication UBICC also participate in international conferences on related subject and publishes the selected papers with the special issue.
Ubiquitous Computing and Communication Journal (ISSN 1992-8424), is an international scientific journal dedicated to advancing the information and communication technology. With a world-wide membership, UBICC is a leading resource for computing professionals and students working in the disciplines of information technology and the impact on society. In particular UBICC journal provides global perspective on new developments in ubiquitous and pervasive computing technologies. The journal is committed to provide platform to present discuss and exchange experimental or theoretical results, trend-setting ideas in the emerging field of ubiquitous computing and related disciplines. UBICC publishes peer-reviewed, interesting, timely and accessible contributions from researchers from all over the globe. The Journal is an essential resource for researchers and educators who wish to understand the implications of ubiquitous computing. In addition to regular publication UBICC also participate in international conferences on related subject and publishes the selected papers with the special issue.

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10/20/2011

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NFC….THE FINAL PUSH
Derek Daly, Sabin Tabirca
University College Cork, Irelandderekdaly@gmail.comtabirca@cs.ucc.ie
ABSTRACT
 Near Field Communications (NFC) has been a ‘buzz’ word since 2003. It is acontactless technology, enabling quick and secure functionality in numerous areasincluding mobile contactless payment, ticketing and data transfer. Everythingabout it seems perfect. But why has it been a ‘buzz’ word for so long and not yet afully realised technology? This paper aims to answer this question and highlightthe obstacles that the technology has dodged and the hurdles it has yet to leap. This paper identifies the struggles in trying to develop NFC applications for theAndroid platform. It outlines what needs to be done for NFC to succeed, whileconcentrating on Android.
Keywords:
 NFC, hardware, contactless, mobile payments, NFC applications
1INTRODUCTION
 Near Field Communications works within therange of 10 cm. The range of possible applicationsfor this technology is huge. Integrating NFC withAndroid is an area with huge potential, as the lowcost of Android devices, such as the Huawei Ideoswhich at Sh8,000 (€71) is the cheapest smartphone inKenya [1]. This factor alone will push Android indeveloping markets, where NFC could become a partof everyday life. According to a recent survey by Nielson 19pc of smartphone users worldwide haveAndroid handsets. This number has risen from 8pcsince January 2010 [2]. There is no denying thesefigures.
2HARDWARE
After much research into the different hardwareforms that could manage to be successfully mouldedwith an Android phone, an NFC enabled microSDcard was the fore runner. Since mid to the end of lastyear three manufacturers [3[4][5] had announced therelease of this technology, and one manufacturer wasonly weeks away from doing so [6]. Out of thesemanufacturers, Toppan Forms pulled the plug [5].The problem is NFC enabled microSD cards shouldhave been commercially available by now.University College Cork (UCC) contacted thecompanies directly (Tyfone, Device Fidelity, andCell-Idea) and haven't gotten any real response.What is the holdup? The reason for this delay, inTyfone’s case is funding (which they have received)and testing which is being undertaken [4]. UCC alsocontacted the Android NFC API developers(Stollmann [7], Inside Contactless [8], Trusted Logic[9]) for any advice as regards to testing their API's but none have their hardware (e.g. Stollmanns'Beagle Board' [7]) available quite yet.Apart from NFC enabled microSD cards the onlyreal viable option to work with an Android phone isa powered NFC sticker. These have beenmanufactured by a French startup called Twinlinx.The product is called MyMax [10]. They havedeveloped the technology, which communicates withthe handset via Bluetooth. The stickers contain a battery. They cost between $30 and $40. They aregoing to be available for testing purposes in October,and have already been linked up with the FrenchCityzi project in Nice [11], where NFC trials areongoing. But again this product isn’t availablecommercially and it will be next year at the earliestwhen it is. It isn’t available for research purposeseither. From a development perspective this optionwill be a more complex process than just writingsoftware to read and write to and from an NFCdevice because the sticker communicates with the phone via Bluetooth. The sticker interacts with an NFC reader/writer or tag and sends this informationto the phone via Bluetooth and vice versa. They havea development kit available since June but it’s valuedat €2000 which is way out of my budget (In order toget this quote you need to contact their sales team).This SDK includes some form of emulator whichwould be ideal for testing apps. With this SDK youcan develop and test NFC apps for the MyMaxsticker, without having the actual sticker.The fact that three companies have been made their open source API’s for Android available todevelopers [8] [7] [9], shows the huge potential for,and the interest in the combination of these twotechnologies. NFC is all about making life a bit
 
easier. It’s about enabling quicker payment, and amore straightforward way of keeping track of itemssuch as receipts. But these types of applicationsaren’t going to push NFC into the mainstream. Thetechnology needs some excellent uses apart from the payment, ticketing and access applications that are being pushed and tested by banks. 
3MAJOR PLAYERS RENEGING
Apart from hardware problems, there has been ahuge amount of reneging on behalf of some keyindustry players on the release of NFC products. For example Nokia’s executive vice president fomarkets Anssi Vanjoki announced on the 17
th
of Junethis year [12] that all Nokia smartphones in 2011would come with NFC. Then five days later theyreleased a statement saying “We didn’t mean
all 
smartphones would get NFC” [13]. Nokia is one of the larger companies that has been backing NFCsince its inception and is one of the fewmanufacturers to have already released an NFC phone. They also have had other NFC products suchas the 3220 NFC shell. They are a sponsor member of the NFC-Forum which is a non-profit organization promoting the technology. Nokia have been bouncing in and out of the limelight with theiexploits in NFC. At the start of the year they cutshort production of their long awaited 6216 classic NFC phone [14]. This was seen as another blow inthe long list of obstacles to widespread NFC use. If  Nokia really wants NFC to succeed, they need to domore. For instance they should include NFC in alltheir phones next year, especially all the Meego andSymbian ^3 phones they release. Nokia need to havea unique and powerful selling point if they want tocontinue to compete with Android, Blackberry andiPhone mobile platforms.Sony Ericsson, like Nokia is a member of the NFC-Forum and has made some similar claims, which sofar look as if they are going to remain unfulfilled. Onthe 29
th
of June last year Sony Ericsson’s VicePresident of Systems Architecture, HakanDjuphammar declared “A year from now basicallyevery new phone that’s sold will have NFC” [15].Again it’s August and there is no sign of a new NFC phone on the market for this year and only rumoursfor next year. Sony Ericsson have filed patents for  NFC applications such as the drag and drop function[16] that allows users whose phones are close toshare files by dragging and dropping them from onedevice to another device. This patent was filed in2007. Three years later and they haven’t included NFC in their phones.After a slew of rumours citing that the Apple iPhone4 would contain an NFC chip, the release in June thisyear disappointed. Maybe it was a physical issuesuch as not enough space or maybe Steve Jobs didn’tthink the mobile world was ready for NFC. This wasa huge disappointment as for the months leading upto the release they had patented numerous NFC ideasincluding turning the iPhone into an electric point of sale device, a system for e-tickets for concerts andevents, and also a system turning an iPhone into aremote control for multiple home appliances [17].These are just three of the several NFC specific patents that Apple has announced recently. Mr Jobscan obviously see the potential of the technology.Maybe NFC needs an organization like Apple tomake it cool and drive adoption. Unlike Nokia andEricsson, Apple really do seem intent on making NFC a success. The recent appointment of BenjaminVigier [18] shows this intent. Mr. Vigier has beeninvolved with NFC since 2004 as product manager for mobile payments specialists mFoundry,specializing in their mobile wallet project. His newrole with Apple is mobile commerce project manager which more than hints at their focus on NFC.
4PROGRESSIONS
When it comes to retailers, it’s another story. Theyhave been slow to adopt the technology because of fears of larger transaction fees. In [19] out-law.comcites that retailers believe that banks are going tomake transaction fees for contactless payments“exorbitant”. This idea has been tossed aside by thefact that UK supermarket chain Spar has decided toinvest heavily in contactless payment due to lowtransactions fees [20]. Spar is setting up NFCsystems in 2600 stores in the UK at a charge of £700,000. They will save 4c per transaction by notasking shoppers to enter their PIN. This of course isexcellent for smaller transactions under £15. Spar  believes it can save up to 40% on transaction charges by using NFC. If the majority of their transactionswere under £15, their contactless transactions wouldcosts them less than cash transactions, whichcurrently cost around 2% of the cash to process.Maybe this fact would push merchants into acceptingthe technology. For these contactless payments, theshopper would be randomly asked for their PIN, based on their usage patterns for security purposes. Italso creates a more efficient and quicker checkoutthan traditional credit card or even cash purchases.Like Spar, the Co-Operative in the UK is alsostarting to introduce contactless payments [21]. 100of it’s food stores and 50 of its pharmacies areadopting an NFC infrastructure with the hope of most of their stores being NFC ready by the 2012Olympics. This is a move in the right direction and isan important factor into urging other merchants intocontactless payments.In a Gartner report [22] on the top ten consumer mobile applications in 2012 NFC came in a less thanaverage 7. Two financial transaction functions came before it. Number 6 is mobile payment particularly in
 
developing countries, usually done via SMS. Thefirst on the list is SMS based money transfer, againmainly in developing markets. It is low cost andquick, but there are huge problems with security. It isalso very open to fraud like money laundering, twothings that need to be considered when implementing NFC.The interest pool in NFC is large. There are retailers,service providers, customers, mobile operators, banks, chipset makers, API developers, applicationdevelopers, handset makers, trusted service managersand standardization bodies all vying to get a piece of the NFC pie. They are all waiting, ready to pounce assoon as they see the opportunity to make some cash.This dodging responsibility in order not to fail is themain hurdle for NFC and is to this day diminishingthe uptake and even knowledge of the technology.According to a recent survey in June by Datamonitor [21], out of 1000 consumers surveyed 33% of themdidn’t know what contactless payment was and only38% said they would be interested in it. NFC needsone of the interested parties to take the technologyand drive it into the public domain.PayPal seem to be keen to fill this gap. According totheir boss Scott Thompson, “Mobile wallet solutionsare [their] top priority”[23]. Their focus at themoment is on moving online payments into the retailsector. They are developing software enablingmobile devices, particularly mobile phones to act as‘mobile wallets’. Their eventual aim is to cut outmiddle men, like the credit card companies. They aretrialling the system in Palo Alto California using an NFC enabled (‘dumb’) sticker which has an idnumber which is linked up to your PayPal account.Your account gets debited by the amount in realtime. Maybe by cutting out the credit card companiesand bypassing the mobile operators NFC will win thehearts and minds of the masses.With all these ups and downs inside in the NFC‘stratosphere’, there is the clear fact that NFC is stillin the bleachers. Retailers need to go ahead andadopt the technology in their stores. Initially for loyalty points for example with dumb stickers likethe type in use in Insomnia Coffee stores in Ireland.These have been developed by an Irish companycalled ZapaTag [24]. A Zapa Tag “is a smart sticker that attaches to your mobile phone”. After thisintroduction to the public, and once the banks aresatisfied that there is a demand for the technologysmall payments could be introduced using a similar system to a Zapa Tag which is connected to a pre-loaded account similar to PayPal. The mobile network operators are still trying tofigure out how they can make money from including NFC in their offered handsets. Operators are notwilling to pay the extra charge to manufacturers for including this function until they have a concrete business plan. Maybe they need to let the technologytake off and then they can identify the areas that have potential to make them money. Along with theoperators, banks are also trying to figure out howthey can drive revenue from the technology. Thereare a few trials ongoing with banks [25]. These are basically an NFC Visa styled credit card. This is astart, but the problem with this is that the benefit of  NFC has to go further than just contactless payments.We need to do away with these cards and transformthem onto our mobile devices. Without doing this NFC domination will inevitably slow down, ascustomers will end up carrying an NFC credit cardand a regular one thereby clogging up their walletand defeating the real major benefit of NFC – themobile purse or “wallet”.When it comes to Android and NFC there is still away to go. There are obviously a multitude of handset manufacturers like HTC, Motorola andSamsung and there are at least two strong chipvendors, Inside Contactless and NXP SemiConductors. Add to this the three API developers andyou have a standardization nightmare. Two of theAPI developers, Trusted Logic [9] and Stollmann [7]have announced that they are working together torelease an ‘open’ NFC platform for Android [26].This still leaves Inside Contactless working bythemselves striving to be the main developer of theAPI. If these bodies could come together and pooltheir resources the uptake of NFC and the speed atwhich apps could be developed, tested and releasedwould be greatly increased.
5APPLICATION BASE
The main applications being pushed are mobile payment and ticketing, for example Apple’s patentedidea for mobile ticketing [17] and [25]. These typesof applications are not enticing people, particularlydevelopers to get involved in the creation of originaland alternative uses for the technology. The NFCForum have an annual contest for the mostinnovative NFC application. The last competitiondeadline was extended [27] as it is believed that thequality of the entrants was low and/or there was alack of interest in the competition. Maybe it is thesmall prize money of €5000 for the winner and twosmaller prizes for second and third, €1500 and €1000respectively. The benefit of this competition is theapplications stray away from the standard paymentsapplications for NFC. For example the PharmaFabula application that identifies medicine for the blind is a very simple and unique app. It is a systemwhereby NFC tags are attached to medicines [28].When the blind person swipes their phone over the package, an audio clip plays, telling the user whattype of medicine it is. NFC needs these types of ‘thinking outside the box’ applications in order to

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