Annotated Bibliography

1. Near Field Communication technology as the key for data acquisition in clinical research

Many of us have heard – and experienced – the digitization of healthcare, however, a recent study claims the switch to computers “is only one step towards optimized workflow for clinical trials” (15).  Morak, Kastner, Drobics, and Schreier, as an outcome of the 2009 First International Workshop on Near Field Communication (NFC), published a study entitled Near Field Communication technology as the key for data acquisition in clinical research.  The study views the short range of NFC communication as a “major feature” due to the “rapid and easy communications between two devices which is initiated just by bringing them closer together” (15), while also relating mobile phones as a powerful tool for NFC communication due to these devices “powerful computing capabilities, the ability to access web-based systems, and a common user interface” (15).  Thus, the study sought to evaluate the significance of mobile phones, coupled with NFC technology, as an “easy-to-use and secure” collection of “research data for clinical trials” (16).

Currently, many health care providers employ an electronic data capture (EDC) system for clinical data collection, using a “separately installed client software application or a common web browser” to view and manually edit forms on a common interface, on a standard computer (15).  The study revealed the need for communication tools to enable health care providers to enter patient data “at the point-of-care” while also providing a method for automatically collecting medical measurements (blood pressure, weight, temperature, etc.), by means of electronic data transmissions versus manual collection.  After evaluating a number of wireless technologies, NFC was chosen for the study over “wired interfaces like USB or RS232, or wireless connections like Bluetooth or Infrared Data Association” as a method was needed without “cables or managing the wireless connection between the measurement devices and the client devices” (15).  Furthermore, NFC provided “independence from local IT infrastructure”, removing the need for a “firewall or routing system” and providing “a solution for multicentric clinical trials in several hospitals with different IT systems”(18).

In this specific study, an EDC web system interface was “configured to securely communicate” with mobile devices for data collection.  Replacing conventional blood pressure devices, participants used CardioMonTM, an NFC enabled mobile medical device to measure a range of parameters of the cardiovascular system.  Health care providers were able to use their mobile devices and RFID chips to: authenticate him/herself, to fetch the data from the device, to link them with the corresponding patient ID, and to upload the record to the EDC system without performing a single keystroke” (17).

Finally, the study states NFC was “able to enhance the utility of an EDC system for clinical trials” by providing “easy-to-use, intuitive and time-saving data acquisition” (training time took only five minutes) (19).  Furthermore, the study also revealed a number of suggestions for further uses of NFC within the healthcare environment.  In relation to our project, this study demonstrates the significance NFC technology, and standards, can bring to just one field.  As NFC enables healthcare providers to dramatically decrease their workflow, while also providing a lower margin of error in patient data collection, the communication solution proves a significant change to not only healthcare but to the greater social landscape.  Also, in the study’s suggestions for further uses, we see the full potential of NFC is yet to take effect and the wide-range of solutions which have yet to be discovered or implemented.

Rimminen, H.; Lindström, J.; Linnavuo, M.; Sepponen, R.; , “Detection of Falls Among the Elderly by a Floor Sensor Using the Electric Near Field,” Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on , vol.14, no.6, pp.1475-1476, Nov. 2010
doi: 10.1109/TITB.2010.2051956
URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5477180&isnumber=5610573

2. Aburajan, Rajani. “Gemalto, STMicroelectronics to Develop Secure Solutions for NFC Applications”. TMCnet. 22 Mar. 2011

The article shows that a provider of secure microcontroller ICs and a provider of digital security solutions join to develop and distribute digital security services for Near Field Communication (NFC) application.

The solution for secure NFC is “based on industry’s leading public key cryptography, matching the latest GP 2.2, JavaCard 3.0.1 specifications as well as Common Criteria EAL4+ and EMVCo certifications.” “ The solution will be available as a System-in-Package (SIP) version combined with ST’s ST21NFCA NFC controller, or as a stand-alone secure element in DFN or micro-SD packages. “

“In the future, they will develop a number of additional packaged offers that include the highly secure ST33 EAL5+ chipset from ST, specially designed for mobile applications, and Gemalto’s  secure operating system, mobile handset software, Trusted Service Management and secure personalization services. “

By combining the most advanced NFC related technologies from different companies, NFC services will be highly secure in the developing global demand services.

3. Everything You Need to Know About Near Field Communication. Dan Nosowitz 3/1/2011

Nososwitz’s article on Near Field Communication is both comprehensive and informative. He addresses the following aspects of this technology: What is NFC? What are its applications? Who are the stakeholders and why are they so interested? How big of an infrastructure change needs to take place? Is NFC safe? And finally, will this succeed?

He explains the technology in layman’s terms, stating that “NFC is a short-range, low power communications protocol between two devices”. One of the devices is the “initiator” and the other is the “target”. The initiator creates a radio-wave field using magnetic induction, which the target can detect and access, thus transferring data. This is all done within a 4-inch distance. It is very similar to RFID technology, only slightly more evolved. RFID readers like “E-Z Pass” are only one-way, sending information in one direction. NFC technology has the capability to send and receive information. The three main applications that NFC will be used for are; transactions, sharing of information and connecting to devices such as Wi-Fi routers or other phones. Purchases with NFC are an obvious application of this technology, however, we could potentially see the elimination of things like car keys, house keys, metro cards, ID’s and passports.

The current and potential stakeholders of NFC are very excited about these developments. Businesses, for instances, will be able to access your preferences and demographics in real-time and in turn create targeted ads specifically for you. Consumer benefits include not only convenience, but real-time coupons, promos and discounts.

According to this report the infrastructure in place with our current technology will be able to easily adjust to this new technology. Card reading technology is already prevalent in many businesses and mobile phone companies are already coming up with ideas to equip current phones with NFC capabilities. For instance, Blackberry is working on an NFC-enabled replacement battery door and iPhone users could potentially purchase phone covers with NFC chips inside them. We can expect to see NFC in the phones themselves in the near future, most likely in two generations of models.

One of the last issues addressed in this article is that of safety and security. I think this is a good starting point for our discussion on this aspect of NFC. Because NFC is transmitting your personal data and bank information, it of course comes with worries and questions.

4. “Info Center.” BrightCard, 2008. 30 March 2011.

Near field communications, although an interesting technology by itself, must be studied in terms of its integrations with other technologies. This marriage into one device s can enable an entirely new range of commercial applications. BrightCard, a Maryland-based RFID vendor, has been leading a trend to merge radio frequency identification (RFID) with near field communications (NFC) technologies to create a secure and convenient application of the two technologies.

BrightCard’s Info Center includes a great deal of information (white papers, videos, background information, spec sheets) on NFC technologies, which could be useful to our project. This source details the history of NFC development, and opens the “black box” of NFC technology by explaining and illustrating how multiple applications work. The site includes white papers detailing how to integrate RFID and NFC for peer to peer data sharing, secure payments, retrieving marketing information (direct cyber-marketing), and providing smart-card-like cybersecurity. Based on these capabilities, the site proposes multiple market applications for NFC/RFID devices. This is important to our research as we investigate how NFC technology may continue to evolve. BrightCard also examines the ISO standards related to these technologies, which highlights a potentially interesting research option for us to pursue in the future. Additionally, BrightCard partners with a number of similar technology firms to optimize its market attractiveness, so the links to these companies may provide additionally useful information.

To arrive at a maximally comprehensive approach to our project, it is good to include this type of research, as it shows a distinct perspective from the industry/news/academic/others we have looked at–BrightCard is a vendor trying to give value to its innovation by applying technology to a broad range of industries and market needs. To supplement the bias of including one vendor, it may be worth looking into the white papers, spec sheets, and press releases of competing companies.

Also, it is important to note that BrightCard’s website is somewhat outdated (2008). However, between professional contact with the company, searching news sources, and further investigation of their technology partners, we will be able to access more updated information as needed.

5. Google and Apple looking to introduce NFC capable Smartphones

Yoni Heisler 11/18/2010

There are reports coming from both Apple and Google’s camps that Near Field Communication is being tested out in both companies’ futures respective smartphones. According to Heisler’s report, Apple is planning to have NFC technology in the iPhone 5 and has been testing their prototypes with built-in RFID readers for quite some time. This NFC technology will enable users to utilize their phone’s NFC technology to use apps that will act as an “e-ticket” to enter concert venues and purchase products within the event as well as access certain media. In addition to this, NFC technology in the iPhone will allow users to carry all of their data from their home computer, to remote machines in order to access their own information from anywhere. Once the user is finished and out of range, the “host” computer returns to its initial status.

Hoping to beat Apple to the punch with NFC technology is Google. Google’s CEO Eric Shmidt took to the stage at the Web 2.0 Summit to demonstrate their new Android’s NFC capabilities. This technology will allow users to make purchases by simply waving their phone over a sensor. Google is expecting to launch this in the next few weeks (as of 11/18/2010). Although Google is very optimistic about this timetable, the article notes that there are still issues that need to be worked out. Specifically, credit card companies need to comply and buy-in to this system, the security of this technology has to be addressed. How the public will react and receive these new capabilities is another issue that is being looked at.

This article is a good example of one of the reasons we chose to explore NFC technology for our project. This emerging technology is expected to impact our lives in the very near future and huge companies are very clearly investing in it. Google and Apple are fighting for first entry into this market and we imagine it won’t stop here. This is just the beginning of this technology and as this article states; Near Field Communication might soon become a household term”

Heisler, Yoni. “Google and Apple Looking to Introduce NFC Capable Smartphones”. Network World. 18 Nov. 2010

< http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/google-and-apple-looking-introduce-nfc-capabl>

6. Near Field Communication technology as the key for data acquisition in clinical research

Many of us have heard – and experienced – the digitization of healthcare, however, a recent study claims the switch to computers “is only one step towards optimized workflow for clinical trials” (15).  Morak, Kastner, Drobics, and Schreier, as an outcome of the 2009 First International Workshop on Near Field Communication (NFC), published a study entitled Near Field Communication technology as the key for data acquisition in clinical research.  The study views the short range of NFC communication as a “major feature” due to the “rapid and easy communications between two devices which is initiated just by bringing them closer together” (15), while also relating mobile phones as a powerful tool for NFC communication due to these devices “powerful computing capabilities, the ability to access web-based systems, and a common user interface” (15).  Thus, the study sought to evaluate the significance of mobile phones, coupled with NFC technology, as an “easy-to-use and secure” collection of “research data for clinical trials” (16).

Currently, many health care providers employ an electronic data capture (EDC) system for clinical data collection, using a “separately installed client software application or a common web browser” to view and manually edit forms on a common interface, on a standard computer (15).  The study revealed the need for communication tools to enable health care providers to enter patient data “at the point-of-care” while also providing a method for automatically collecting medical measurements (blood pressure, weight, temperature, etc.), by means of electronic data transmissions versus manual collection.  After evaluating a number of wireless technologies, NFC was chosen for the study over “wired interfaces like USB or RS232, or wireless connections like Bluetooth or Infrared Data Association” as a method was needed without “cables or managing the wireless connection between the measurement devices and the client devices” (15).  Furthermore, NFC provided “independence from local IT infrastructure”, removing the need for a “firewall or routing system” and providing “a solution for multicentric clinical trials in several hospitals with different IT systems”(18).

In this specific study, an EDC web system interface was “configured to securely communicate” with mobile devices for data collection.  Replacing conventional blood pressure devices, participants used CardioMonTM, an NFC enabled mobile medical device to measure a range of parameters of the cardiovascular system.  Health care providers were able to use their mobile devices and RFID chips to: authenticate him/herself, to fetch the data from the device, to link them with the corresponding patient ID, and to upload the record to the EDC system without performing a single keystroke” (17).

Finally, the study states NFC was “able to enhance the utility of an EDC system for clinical trials” by providing “easy-to-use, intuitive and time-saving data acquisition” (training time took only five minutes) (19).  Furthermore, the study also revealed a number of suggestions for further uses of NFC within the healthcare environment.  In relation to our project, this study demonstrates the significance NFC technology, and standards, can bring to just one field.  As NFC enables healthcare providers to dramatically decrease their workflow, while also providing a lower margin of error in patient data collection, the communication solution proves a significant change to not only healthcare but to the greater social landscape.  Also, in the study’s suggestions for further uses, we see the full potential of NFC is yet to take effect and the wide-range of solutions which have yet to be discovered or implemented.

Rimminen, H.; Lindström, J.; Linnavuo, M.; Sepponen, R.; , “Detection of Falls Among the Elderly by a Floor Sensor Using the Electric Near Field,” Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on , vol.14, no.6, pp.1475-1476, Nov. 2010
doi: 10.1109/TITB.2010.2051956
URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5477180&isnumber=5610573

7. NXP Semiconductors Austria GmbH Syria. MIFARE.net. 2011. http://www.mifare.net/

In 1994, MIFARE was introduced by one of the co-inventors of NFC—NXP.  MIFARE accounts for approximately 80% of the contactless smart card market, so is an important player in the NFC domain. This site is extremely useful to our study of NFC, as it recounts the history of the technology, current implementations, international and domestic standards, and security (identity management, financial security, data protection…). It also outlines the technologies that employ NFC capabilities, including mobile phones, smartcards, and readers. Plus, NXP has introduced NFC into over 40 separate applications. At proposal phase, we talked about 3 potential uses for NFC, and this site can certainly broaden our perspective of our technology.

This source provides fantastic links to news, blogs, and information regarding the testing and implementation of NFC applications across the US and the world. It also contains several demo videos of the technology, so we can visually conceptualize inside the “black box” of NFC applications. Finally, the site links a number of companies which are currently integrating NFC into their technological solutions.

8. Fischer, J. “NFC in cell phones: The new paradigm for an interactive world [Near-Field Communications].”Communications Magazine, IEEE 47.6 (2009): 22-28. Web. 18 Apr 2011.

Jeffrey Fischer’s NFC in Cell Phones: The New Paradigm for an Interactive World provides a top-level overview of NFC as the technology functions within cell phones including its current employment and a breakdown of the technology inside “the black box”.  Calling NFC a “magic wand technology”, Fischer asserts the technology has “passed the early adoption test” with “deployments of proximity cards for transportation and payment in Western Europe and Asia…overwhelmingly successful (e.g., 95 percent penetration in Hong Kong)” (22).  Such deployments have already led to “significant investments geared toward coalescing standards and specifications, and migrating the technology into cell phones”(Fischer 22).  This includes “deployment trials”, such as “vending machines to theater ticket operations”, and well as organizations such as the NFC Forum and GSMA who have published NFC material, especially “specifications” and standards (Fischer 22).  Fischer names three advantages to a “Swiss Army knife” approach of incorporating NFC into cell phones, including:

  1. “Centralizing a user’s life”(22)
  2. Versus a card, a cell phone enables “high-level functions that demand greater memory and processing” (22)
  3. Most significantly, the cell phone: “provides a backend connection to the cellular network for high-level operations such as real-time loading of funds, security management, and telephone and Internet connections driven by inputs received from NFC interactions”( 22).

Interestingly, Fischer anticipates “expand[ed]…capabilities of the very successful SIM card to store credit card numbers, enable security, and store applications”, all which would add to the benefits on NFC in mobile devices (22).

“Under the Hood”, as Fischer states, or “inside the black box” of NFC includes a “multiprotocol operation”, essentially a “round-robin sampling for the presence of a response” from protocols, including those in “earlier proximity cards that are used to gain entry to buildings and mass transit in many countries…based on a decade old predecessor, ISO/IEC 14443”(Fischer 22-23).  Through the use of “small loop antennas”, “near-field magnetic coupling at 13.56 MHz” is achieved “while having poor radiation efficiency” (Fischer 22).  While “limited in effective range to just a few centimeters”, NFC does not require contact, unless designed as such (Fischer 22).

Fischer discusses the differentiation from RFID (where “a reader/writer is trying to read or write the contents of a tag) to NFC and “contactless cards” where “an additional chip to store secure data” is included, mainly for “financial transactions”.  RFID and NFC technology can include passive (“does not provide its own source of energy” as well as active (includes “a self-contained energy source”) tags (Fischer).  Significantly, passive tags “can be made inexpensively and last virtually forever” (Fischer).  According to Fischer, the NFC forum has provided standards mapping “three behaviors of SO/IEC 18092”(the “MAC standard”)(Fisher).  These behaviors are:

  1. Reader/writer: “initiate[s] an operation with a passive tag”
  2. Card emulator: “will appear to a reader/writer as a passive tag, but in fact can be active because the phone may be powered up”, allowing it to “look like any selectable number of tags for the users (the electronic wallet)” and also to allow it to be read as a “default” tag when “powered down or out of battery” (Fisher 23)
  3. 3.     Peer-to-peer: includes an “active initiator and active target”- i.e., a phone and another device (or another phone) “share[s] data as network peers” (Fisher 23).  In this case, “each device relies on host access and does not have the behavior of a tag or contactless card” (Fisher 23).

Fisher also provides an overview of NFC applications, current and past, as well as the implicated security features for those involving financial transactions, in which case:

…the GSMA NFC Initiative proposes using a trusted service manager (TSM) between the service provider and mobile network operator layers [5]. These are third party organizations that maintain the security data, meet certain physical storage and protection requirements, and act as liaisons between the customer and the service providers. (Fisher 23)

As users move from the capabilities of traditional contact cards, Fisher noted the importance of developing standards to overt product branding and to “keep the stored information in separate data wells”, allowing privacy between different financial or organizational providers (Fisher 24).  Fischer, noting the security stakes of “losing control of a credit card”, provides “over-the-air (OTA) management” as a solution, allowing the user to “disable all secure features” by placing a phone call or through a Web portal (Fischer 24).  Fisher provides an alternative “authentic” solution by “connecting to a service provider via SMS” (Fischer 24).  Here an NFC tag (his example is in a vending machine) “serves as an enabler to set up the initial phone SMS”, where the service provider would both be able to recognize the user’s intent to purchase and “arm” the transaction (via the machine) (Fisher 24).  Fisher acknowledges “extensive back-end use cases”, such as these, “may take some time to work out” (24).

Fisher also reviews applications which “piggyback on existing infrastructure and do not require as strong authentication”, specifically smart posters (24).  Compared to contactless technologies such a QR or barcodes readers, NFC “can provide a more elaborate data set” when deployed in a mobile phone, such as automatically dialing and storing numbers or addresses and deploying “peer-to-peer connection[s]” to, for example, sync navigation systems (Fischer 24).  While admitting to the need for security, even in regards to NFC applications such as these, Fisher suggests the security concerns involved are “not really more than already exist in our current lives”, such as with the Internet (24).  This includes directions to “nefarious URL[s]” and “someone piggybacking” on advertisements.  Solutions include “malware software and virus software” for the phone and a “public key infrastructure (PKI) to provide digital signing certificates” (Fischer 24).  Other “local” applications could include peer-to-peer transfer of business cards (other other information), helping the elderly or handicap by placing NFC tags on photos to dial, or “as a badge for a security guard or maintenance worker who must verify specific stops on a route”(Fischer 25).

Compared to alternate wireless technologies (Bluetooth and WiFI), these require the user to “enter information to isolate and protect your own communications from others in the area”, in other words, compared to NFC’s intent to connect through touch, “there is no way to indicate intent without typing” (Fischer 25).  However, to enable “high-bandwidth connections” for some NFC peer-to-peer applications, the NFC Forum has defined a method for NFC to act as a “pairing mechanism” to “immediately establish a Bluetooth or WiFi connection” between two devices through touch (Fisher 25).

From user group studies, Fischer outlines the main concerns with NFC deployment, including interface (which can be re-designed and should not be confused with NFC technology) as well as security, specifically financial security (Fischer 26).  Adaption came more readily from younger participants (18-25 years of age) versus “groups of relatively older users (average age between 29 and 41)” (Fischer 26).  Fisher quotes the results of the older group study (Madlmayr et al), which speaks to the adaptability and possible future success of NFC:

“Participants were also asked to rate NFC door access and payment in comparison to the traditional methods they used:

• Access: 58 percent rate NFC as faster than their separate access card, 92 percent as more comfortable, 73 percent as more secure, 82 percent as better, 89 percent as more user friendly, 97 percent as ‘cooler.’

• Payment: 89 percent rate NFC as faster than payment in cash, 95 percent as more comfortable, 40 percent as more secure, 90 percent as better, 90 percent as more user friendly, and 95 percent as ‘cooler.’”(Fisher 27).

In conclusion, Fischer asserts “simple feature applications” will pave the way for NFC applications and “drive investment for adding the back-end”, such a virtual-wallet applications.  Fischer concludes by stating, “The combination of integration of low-power short-range RF circuits, low-power memory, careful software design, good standards for interface specifications, and ergonomic designs, with security as a primary consideration, are going to pave the way for NFC enabled phones”(27).  Jeffrey Fischer brings “30 years in electronic communications” including five years in RFID, including research and applications with the MIT Lincoln Laboratory now deployed with the U.S. Army (Fischer 28).

Fisher’s research applies to many areas of our research on NFC and specifically the concerns users may have in adoption as we have seen through our interviews.  Through his review of group case studies, Fischer has uncovered similar security concerns via the user.  To address this, Fischer outlines both the advantage of NFC as a highly secure communication technology (versus Bluetooth and WiFI) as well as the multiple-back end design possibilities, such as the TSM approach.  Encouragingly, Fischer also notes the discrepancy between age groups, marking the possibility for greater adaptability in the future as well as a large base of established protocols, standards, and deployment use-cases set to make NFC a real possibility for future mass- adoption.

9. Bibliographic Review: Near Field Communication: an assessment for future payment systems

Jan Ondrus and Yves Pigneur’s Near Field Communication: an assessment for future payment systems evaluates NFC as a technology for mobile payments based on “multi-actor multi-criteria methods” (1).  Specifically, Ondrus and Pigneur examine NFC ‘s mobile payment deployment in the Swiss market and highlight “enthusiastic” findings from Swiss mobile payment experts (1).  Through their research, the authors claim “NFC performs much better than existing mobile phone technologies” for payment (13).

Ondrus and Pigneur discuss issues surround NFC which still “need to be resolved”, specifically “the business model implanted around” NFC (12).  According to their study issues such as “value proposition improvement”, “flexibility”, and ease of use” are currently “drawbacks” and due to the “youth of the technology” (12).  However, the authors suggest improvements in these areas “could lead to mass adoption” (12).  Furthermore, experts agree the infrastructure deployed around NFC “is a key factor of success” (13).  For future research, Ondrus and Pigneur suggest “a study of the NFC readiness of countries” (14).

Ondrus, Jan, and Yves Pigneur. “Near Field Communication: an assessment for future payment systems.” Information Systems and E-Business Management. 7.3 (2009): 347-361. Print.

10.  Korkmaz, B., Lee, R., Park, I.How new Internet standards will finally deliver a mobile revolution”. McKinsey Quarterly. April 2011. McKinsey & Company.

This report forecasts the future of the Internet through the theory of Web-centricity.  Though the article does not specifically reference Near Field Communications (NFC), our technology is very distinctly a part of this emerging trend, so the report may help us as we locate our technology within the future of the Internet.

Web-centricity supposes that we will be able to access the same information despite the computing device we are using (tablet, PC, smartphone…) as we will use a browser, rather than a particular OS platform to run application. Browsers are the same across devices, so it certainly makes sense that we would use this application as the access point for other applications, so we can access content across a variety of mobile devices.

The report recounts a broad range of potential benefits and disadvantages of the Web-centricity model, and then delves into consumer and industry impact. This is where our project topic is important. With a Web-centric model, consumers’ information is accessible from any device. As we integrate NFC in with this type of model, it only further improves the efficiency and usability of both. For industry players, NFC implementation in a Web-centric model provides both advantages and disadvantages, as licensing issues arise, as hw/sw integration issues diminish, and as advertising shifts to an Internet-based and real-time affective mechanism.

Finally, the report examines what this means for the key enterprise leadership. CIOs, CEOs, and CMOs already have begun to address mobility issues for the firm, and Web-centricity may help to simplify some of these problems. There will be less of a need to standardize content, accessibility, and applications, as any device will use the same browser. Incorporating NFC, this only further simplifies current problems, as NFC facilitates easy access for the user, and Web-centricity facilitates easy access through the browser.

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