The Oyster is my world
The NFC architecture envisions multiple applications making use of the same hardware, so an NFC phone might have an application installed for London's Oyster mass-transport pre-payment system, allowing the user to board an underground train or bus by tapping the phone against a reader, but it might also have an application from British Airways for storing boarding passes and tickets, allowing a plane to be boarded with similar ease.
The same handset could then download a Visa PayWave application, enabling low-value transactions to be completed by tapping the phone against a shop's till.
But if the handset also has Mastercard PayPass installed there will user-interface issues to contend with as the till struggles to decide which payment system to debit.
Location advertising makes use of the reader in the phone to pick up information from cheap tags embedded in posters or signs. Basic tags cost around 10p (15c) a time, so can be embedded in movie posters or signposts to provide additional information.
Exhibits at the Pompidou Centre in Paris already have such tags, so the visitor can get additional information by tapping the sign. The centre supplies the handsets, as NFC hasn't yet taken the world by storm.
The N-Mark standard defines an embedded tag, which can communicate and provide encrypted authentication using power induced by the reader - such a tag can therefore be embedded in a credit card or key fob without needing its own power supply.
An N-Mark device, such as a mobile phone, incorporates a reader as well as a tag, to enabling communication with passive tags and other N-Mark devices. That communication takes place at 13.56MHz, but as the power is magnetically inducted the range is extremely limited - 200mm at best.
Retrofitting NFC is hard, but can be done using a wire to carry the signal from the Sim or SD card to an antenna bonded to the outside of the handset, or at least just inside the plastic back. Such an approach is being adopted by several network operators around the world, as a stop-gap while waiting for NFC handsets.
Next page: SIM with tail
So what are those 250 "gurus" for then?
To create a following, what else?
Can you say "technology solution looking for a problem to solve"? Why then, are operators now finally sinking a bunch of dosh in hyping this, well, solution without a problem? Methinks it's the structure of the market. They've been staring at each other, and somebody moved. Now they all have to move. Even if they haven't a clue how to get wherever they're going, yet.
Is this the wrong place to mention the complete farce that's the "OV-chipkaart" (oyster type card, to be used as the exclusive payment method for all public transport over in The Netherlands) as it's been very publicly shown to be broken _again_ (previously in 2008) and is still getting pushed through by all relevant actors including up to the minister? RFID writers are suddenly becoming HUGELY popular over there.
If the plebs have any sense, they'll let this one slide like lead brick down a soaped slope. If /the hackers/ have any sense, they'll smash the security publicly to bits until nobody dares talk about the entire thing.
Like the range claims have already been shown to be stretchable to metres. Bill is still soundly in denial about that, though. The thing is, the engineering assumptions to make this wireless thing work aren't quite solid enough to rely on for your security assumptions. "We don't require it to work further out than 20cm" is not quite the same as "We require it to not work further out than 20cm". The difference leaves the system wide open for fraud and mischief. As does, oh, broken security in the cards themselves.
Yes, engineering for function and engineering for security are different, have different implications, and the differences are actively being ignored at the end user's peril. Which is to say, the end user now has no choice left but must understand this, and act accordingly.