A Calgary, Alberta, Canada company has offered up new technology that will allow smartphones and personal digital assistants to serve as RFID readers/writers. The new card will also offer Near Field Communication (NFC) compatibility. It is, the company claims, the first RFID reader/writer SD (secure digital) card in the industry
According to Wireless Dynamics‘ March announcement, its SDiD card will allow smartphones and PDAs to double as portable RFID terminals. The card integrates RFID functionality into the existing computing power and connectivity of PDAs and smartphones. RFID tag information can be communicated in real-time through WiFi, CDMA, GSM or Bluetooth connections.
Ambrose Tam, Wireless Dynamics’ CEO, is so confident in the prospects for the SDiD card that he believes it “will jumpstart” the NFC and portable RFID reader application market.
“We are excited about the added functionality this first of its kind SD card can provide users of PDAs and smartphones,” added Mr. Tam. “It is our goal to offer rapid deployment of technology solutions associated with RFID and NFC technology.”
He said Wireless Dynamics is targeting three market areas for its new card. “The first is the enterprise market which includes data security, customer relationship management, asset and document tracking, airlines and transportation,” he said.
The second market (what Mr. Tam calls the horizontal or consumer market) involves contactless payments, e-commerce, product authentication, and point of sales. “Smart media/smart posters, may be embedded with an RFID chip or NFC,” explained Mr. Tam. “A PDA equipped with our SDiD card can then connect to a web site to receive promotional stuff, like an e-coupon, that could be part of a merchant’s customer loyalty program.”
In other words, the NFC-based SDiD card would allow PDA and smartphone users to access product information or entertainment content such as pictures, music and video clips by waving their mobile devices in front of a smart poster or kiosk. Another use is that they can exchange such information with other users through NFC or mobile connection of their devices, said Mr. Tam.
The third area, Mr. Tam said, would involve a vertical market, pharmaceutical and healthcare, retail supply chain logistics, supply chain management, real-time inventory, product tracking, and security, and homeland security, passport and biometric identifications.
“In health care, you could have smart wrist bands for patients,” he said. “Using our SDiD card, you can transfer patient information to your PDA. In the pharmaceutical industry, you can determine drugs with expired dates, or authenticate the drugs to make sure the drugs are real.”
Wireless Dynamics’ SDiD card comes in two flavors: The 1010 and 1020. The 1010 is an NFC-based SD Card that supports the ISO14443A standard, NFCIP-1, Philips MIFARE tag and Sony’s FeliCa tag. It can be used for contactless payment and advertising and promotional applications.
The 1020 SD Card supports ISO 15693, which is more commonly used in vertical markets, like asset tracking, and 14443A, said Mr. Tam. The 1020 can be customized for industrial, enterprise and government applications. Both the 1010 and 1020 cards operate in the 13.56 MHZ frequency range, over a distance of about five centimeters. To use the SDiD card, PDAs and smartphones need to be equipped with SD Card slots and an SDIO interface. It also supports Microsoft’s Pocket PC 2002/2003, Windows Mobile 2003, and Palm OS 4.1 and up operating systems.
With NFC, “it depends on which market you want to address. For contactless payment, it’s convenient. For identity purposes, your information is embedded in the smart card.”
Mr. Tam, former president of Novatel Wireless, which he co-founded in 1996, created Wireless Dynamics in 2003 as a joint venture “between myself and Wong’s International in Hong Kong. Our mandate is to do ODM design and expand wireless capabilities,” he said.
“We developed the SDiD card for secure data identification. That’s how basically an RFID reader and writer works. And we wanted to support NFC. The beauty of all this is the quick adoption.”
Mr. Tam believes Wireless Dynamics has positioned its new products to take advantage of some of the fastest growing markets. “In cell phones, product authentication is in high demand and contactless payment is one of the fastest growing segments in e-commerce. On the enterprise side, the card creates a level of security and also increases productivity because it allows you to track inventory, purchase orders, etc.”
Explore more developments dealing with the implementation of Near Field Communications, a short-range wireless technology that promises to revolutionize contactless identification, payment, access, and more. Click to visit NFCNews.