In a technical sense Near-Field Communication (NFC) is a short range and wireless technology for data transfer without physical touch. The technology enables two-way interaction such as data exchange in electronic devices. Mobile device scan for example exchange pictures just by enabling NFC transfer and bringing two NFC capable devices close to each other. NFC devices can also read NFC tags, which are unpowered NFC chips that contain data. By reading a NFC tag a device can for example launch a pre-installed program or access a website link.
NFC is an open standard so it can be integrated into many electronic devices (Sony, 2002). On the consumer side the primary NFC device is a mobile phone or a tablet computer. In combination with NFC, the device will act as a smart-key to gain access to services from any other NFC device or tag.
According to Ok et al. (2010), there are three NFC Forum defined operating modes for NFC: Peer-to-Peer, Reader/Writer and Card emulation. They state that (p. 335):”In card-emulation mode the data is transferred from mobile-device to NFC-Reader; in reader/writer mode data is transferred is from NFC tag to mobile device or mobile device to NFC tag; and in peer-to-peer mode data is transferred between two NFC compatible devices.” These three operating modes are also included in the study by Siira and Törmänen (2010) and can be found in the NFC-Forum website (http://www.nfc-forum.org/)