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What is NFC?

NFC, which stands for Near Field Communication, is a simple intuitive technology that lets you do innovative things with your smartphone. NFC is a derivative of RFID that connects the physical world to the virtual world. A NFC tag can be connected to data such as a web page, social networks, etc.

NFC is starting to be used for payments, access control, communicating with computers, etc. All these applications involve placing your Smartphone (or other NFC device) near the element (reader) with which you want to interact.

NFC is available on many telephones, including Apple, Nokia, HTC, Samsung, RIM (Blackberry). It is expected that 600 million phones equipped with NFC technology will be sold by 2018.

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What is HCE?

HCE or Host Card Emulation was introduced in 2013 and is simply card emulation in an NFC system, such as a telephone. As an open architecture, HCE allows payments and various NFC services such as loyalty programs, access and transport cards to be used without the need for a physical secure element (SIM card, Micro SD, etc.). Introduced by Google in Android KitKat, the HCE system allows transactions to be secured directly in the application.

Examples of use:

  • Physical and logical access control
  • Retail payments
  • Ticketing
  • Loyalty programs

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The main difference between traditional NFC and HCE lies in the way data and communication are secured.

One uses physical hardware called a secure element, while the other uses an application.

HCE has many advantages:

  • Simplicity and user-friendliness
  • Interoperable and deployable on a large-scale
  • Solution that is independent of telecom operators, smartphone manufacturers and SIM cards