Near field communication (NFC) is a new wireless connectivity technology that enables short-range communication between electronic devices. The operation of NFC is intuitive, making it easy for consumers to use. With built-in security, it has great potential for payment and financial applications. However, NFC is a relatively new technology and the related industries are still brainstorming for extensive applications to make it more marketable. Hence, the aim of our research is to design and build a working prototype for tourists using NFC and smart card. Undoubtedly, photo-taking is an integral part of every tourist’s holiday. However, it is noticed that pictures alone are often incomplete. People hardly remember the details of the places they have visited and find it a hassle to keep records of the attractions. Hence, it is more meaningful if digital photos have short descriptions attached with little effort. Another observation is that although it is often cheaper for tourists to purchase tour packages, it is a hassle to keep track of several tickets. Such inconvenience can be reduced with a single device that is able to store tickets electronically. With the above observation in mind, we propose an NFC system (HolidayPaL) that would benefit tourists so that they have more memorable holidays. Firstly, NFC tags will be placed at each attraction, storing relevant snippets of site descriptions. The tourists can then use their NFC-enabled cameras to input the descriptions, which will then be attached to relevant photos. Personal comments can be added later as well. Tourists can subsequently view the photos and captions using some photo-album software. These captions give tourists better understanding and more vivid memory of the heritage and culture of the places visited. Another feature of the proposed application is to use NFC devices to store electronic tickets. Tourists can purchase a package over the counter and transfer it to their handheld devices via NFC. Subsequently, they can just tap their NFC devices at the entrance of each attraction to gain admission. The proposed NFC application will benefit three groups of people: individual tourists, the tourism industry, and digital camera manufacturers.
Radio Frequency Identification
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is useful in storing and retrieving data through Electromagnetic (EM) transmission to a RF compatible integrated circuit. A RFID tag is a device that can be attached to or embedded inside a product for the purpose of identification using radio waves.
The RFID technology can be subdivided into two categories, namely the Near Field Communication (NFC) (Ortiz, 2006) and Far Field Communication (Capps, 2001). Near Field Communication Technology was jointly developed by Philips and Sony and was approved as an ECMA standard (ECMA-340) and an ISO/IEC standard (ISO/IEC 18092). The near field systems use magnetic coupling. In contrast, the far field system requires EM waves to be sent into free space and then captured by the tag’s antenna.
Near Field Communication
NFC devices can function as an initiator or a target. The initiator sends out a communication request, while the target receives that request and starts the communication. NFC has two modes of transmission, namely the active mode and the passive mode. In the active mode, both the initiator and target generate a RF signal to transmit data. In the passive mode, only the initiator generates the RF field. The target uses power from the RF generated by the initiator’s coil to transmit back the answer. Hence, passive communication consumes less power and is more suitable for this research work.
Mifare® is the industry standard for contactless and dual interface smart card schemes. It operates passively at 13.56MHz with a range of 0.1m and has a data transfer rate of 160kbps. The Mifare® 1K card used in this work has 1024 x 8 bits of EEPROM memory, organized into 16 sectors with 4 blocks of 16 bytes each. Each sector consists of 3 data blocks and 1 sector trailer. Each sector trailer consists of 2 secret keys and access bits, which are used to specify access rights to each block in that sector. Secure communication is also ensured with a three-pass authentication protocol.