(19)
(11)EP 3 151 146 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
22.07.2020 Bulletin 2020/30

(21)Application number: 15187377.5

(22)Date of filing:  29.09.2015
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G06K 19/07(2006.01)
G06K 7/10(2006.01)
G06F 21/44(2013.01)
H04B 5/00(2006.01)

(54)

NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION DEVICE

NAHFELDKOMMUNIKATIONSVORRICHTUNG

DISPOSITIF DE COMMUNICATION DE CHAMP PROCHE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
05.04.2017 Bulletin 2017/14

(73)Proprietor: NXP B.V.
5656 AG Eindhoven (NL)

(72)Inventor:
  • Dixit, Harish D
    5656 AG Eindhoven (NL)

(74)Representative: Krott, Michel 
NXP Semiconductors Intellectual Property & Licensing High Tech Campus 60
5656 AG Eindhoven
5656 AG Eindhoven (NL)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 1 744 267
US-A1- 2005 228 853
US-A1- 2014 139 323
US-B1- 8 478 195
WO-A2-2007/072264
US-A1- 2009 149 247
US-A1- 2014 375 430
  
  • "Introduction to NFC", , 19 April 2011 (2011-04-19), XP055016470, Retrieved from the Internet: URL:http://www.adafruit.com/datasheets/Int roduction_to_NFC_v1_0_en.pdf [retrieved on 2012-01-13]
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

FIELD



[0001] The present disclosure relates to a near field communication device and to a corresponding method for configuring a near field communication device. Furthermore, the present disclosure relates to a near field communication reader and to a corresponding method for facilitating the execution of functions. Furthermore, the present disclosure relates to a non-transitory computer program product corresponding to said methods.

BACKGROUND



[0002] Today, the use of so-called near field communication (NFC) enables the wireless transmission of data over relatively short distances. NFC technology enables simple and safe two-way interactions between electronic devices, allowing consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content, and connect electronic devices with a single touch. NFC complements many popular consumer-level wireless technologies by utilizing the key elements in existing standards for contactless smart card technology (for example, ISO/IEC 14443 A and B and JIS-X 6319-4). NFC is compatible with existing contactless smart card infrastructures and thus it enables a consumer to utilize one device across different systems. There are various types of NFC devices, for example simple NFC tags or stickers and NFC readers. An NFC tag is usually a passive device, i.e. it does not have its own power source but instead it is powered by a field generated by another NFC device, such as an NFC reader. More complex NFC devices may operate in different modes, specifically: a reader/writer mode, which allows an NFC device to read and/or write passive NFC tags and stickers; a peer-to-peer mode, which allows the NFC device to exchange data with other NFC peer devices; a Host Card Emulation (HCE) mode, which allows the NFC device to act as an NFC card. An emulated NFC card can be accessed by an external NFC reader, such as an NFC point-of-sale terminal. Host Card Emulation (HCE) is the presentation of a virtual and exact representation of a smart card using only software. NFC devices, such as NFC tags/stickers, emulated NFC cards and also NFC-compatible smart cards, often support only a limited number of functions. Typically, an NFC reader reads a limited amount of data from such NFC devices, and subsequently performs a simple function such as a fare transaction or a discount operation. Although NFC provides a convenient way to support such functions, it may be desirable to increase the range and/or the amount of supported functions.

[0003] US 8,478,195 B1 describes authenticating a user to a mobile computing device using an NFC tag. The NFC tag may be initially associated when an NFC reader of the device senses the NFC tag and wirelessly retrieves a tag identifier from the tag. The tag identifier is stored for subsequent retrieval. The authentication process begins after receiving a valid password and then positioning the device proximate the object such that the NFC reader of the device retrieves the tag identifier from the NFC tag without receiving input at the mobile computing device. In the event that the retrieved tag identifier matches the stored tag identifier, the mobile computing device is unlocked and the user may access the mobile computing device. If the retrieved tag identifier does not match the stored tag identifier, the user is not authenticated and the mobile computing device remains locked.

[0004] WO 2007/072264 A2 describes cooperative RFID devices that are aware of other RFID devices in their near vicinity (field range), and their operational pattern depends on presence of these other devices. If a cooperative RFID device is alone in the RF field of a reader terminal, it will allow operation of a first type (e.g. not allowing complex communication, but only allowing responses to requests for non-sensitive data or completely concealing its presence by not allowing any transmission at all) and when another defined and known RFID device is detected in the same RF field, operation of a second type is allowed (e.g. allowing any data transfer, responding to requests for any data, including sensitive data).

[0005] US 2014/0139323 A1 describes an NFC tag including a storage unit that stores instructions including two or more functions received from an NFC writer or an input device, and a data exchange unit that transfers the instructions to an NFC reader. A smart device includes an NFC writer configured to input instructions including two or more functions into an NFC tag and an NFC reader configured to receive the instructions from the NFC tag. A method for inputting instructions into an NFC tag using a smart device is also described.

[0006] EP 1 744 267 A2 describes a reader, tags, an RFID system, and a method of simultaneously identifying a plurality of tags having colliding reply signals and reducing the reading time. In the RFID system including a reader and plural tags assigned unique IDs, the reader stores a comparison code which identifies ID codes generated based on the unique IDs of the tags, and issues a query signal to the tags to inquire into the presence of the tags. In response to the received query signal, the tags generate the ID codes based on their unique IDs and sends the ID codes to the reader. The reader stores the received ID codes and identifies the responding tags by comparing the stored comparison code with the ID codes. When the ID codes are orthogonal, colliding reply signals can be resolved through a correlation technique.

SUMMARY



[0007] According to a first aspect of the present disclosure, a near field communication device is provided which comprises a storage unit, wherein said storage unit is configured and adapted to store sequence-specific data relating to at least one sequence of devices of which said near field communication device forms part, and wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence identifier attribute which identifies the sequence of devices. The sequence of devices is an ordered sequence, and the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence order attribute which specifies a position of the near field communication device in said ordered sequence.

[0008] In one or more embodiments, the sequence-specific data comprise a function attribute which enables, at least in part, an external near field communication reader to execute a function associated with the sequence of devices.

[0009] In one or more embodiments, the function attribute comprises authentication data which enable said near field communication reader to perform an authentication algorithm that takes said authentication data as an input.

[0010] In one or more embodiments, the authentication data comprise at least a part of a cryptographic key.

[0011] In one or more embodiments, the sequence-specific data comprise a timing attribute which specifies a timing requirement associated with said function.

[0012] In one or more embodiments, the near field communication device is a near field communication tag.

[0013] According to a second aspect of the present disclosure, a method for configuring a near field communication device is conceived, the method comprising storing, in a storage unit of said near field communication device, sequence-specific data relating to at least one sequence of devices of which said near field communication device forms part, wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence identifier attribute which identifies the sequence of devices, wherein the sequence of devices is an ordered sequence, and wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence order attribute which specifies a position of the near field communication device in said ordered sequence.

[0014] According to a third aspect of the present disclosure, a near field communication reader is provided which comprises: a near field communication unit which is configured and adapted to read at least one sequence of devices; and a processing unit which is configured and adapted to execute a function associated with said sequence only if all devices of said sequence have been read, wherein the processing unit is configured and adapted to execute said function only if the devices of said sequence have been read in a predefined order.

[0015] In one or more embodiments, the processing unit is configured and adapted to execute said function only if the time elapsed between reading particular ones of said devices does not exceed a predefined threshold and/or only if at least one of said devices has been read before a predefined expiry time.

[0016] In one or more embodiments, the function is an authentication algorithm that takes authentication data retrieved from said devices as input, and the processing unit is further configured and adapted to enable user access to the near field communication reader in dependence on an output of said authentication algorithm.

[0017] According to a fourth aspect of the present disclosure, a method for facilitating the execution of functions is conceived, the method comprising: reading, by a near field communication unit comprised in a near field communication reader, at least one sequence of devices; and executing, by a processing unit comprised in said near field communication reader, a function associated with said sequence only if all devices of said sequence have been read, wherein the processing unit executes said function only if the devices of said sequence have been read in a predefined order.

[0018] According to a fifth aspect of the present disclosure, a non-transitory computer program product is provided comprising instructions which, when being executing by a processing unit, cause said processing unit to carry out a method according to the second aspect or a method according to the fourth aspect.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS



[0019] Embodiments will be described in more detail with reference to the appended drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 shows an illustrative embodiment of an NFC device;

Fig. 2 shows an illustrative embodiment of the content of a storage unit;

Fig. 3 shows an illustrative embodiment of an NFC reader;

Fig. 4 shows an illustrative embodiment of an NFC system;

Fig. 5 shows another illustrative embodiment of an NFC system;

Fig. 6 shows a further illustrative embodiment of an NFC system.


DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



[0020] Fig. 1 shows an illustrative embodiment of an NFC device 100. The NFC device 100 comprises a storage unit 102. The storage unit 102 is configured and adapted to store sequence-specific data relating to at least one sequence of devices of which said near field communication device forms part. Thus, if an NFC reader reads these sequence-specific data from said NFC device, and combines said sequence-specific data with sequence-specific data retrieved from other NFC devices of the same sequence, the NFC reader may perform sequence-specific functions. In other words, the NFC reader may, in addition to the functions already supported by stand-alone or individual NFC devices, now also execute sequence-specific functions, and thus the range and/or the amount of executable functions may effectively be increased.

[0021] Fig. 2 shows an illustrative embodiment of the content of a storage unit as shown in Fig. 1. As mentioned above, in one or more embodiments, the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence identifier attribute which identifies the sequence of devices. In this way, it is easier for an external NFC reader to determine to which sequence the NFC device belongs. By consequence, the use of multiple sequences is also facilitated: the NFC device may form part of more than one sequence, and in that case the storage unit may store a plurality of sequence identifier attribute values. This is shown in the example of Fig. 2: the NFC device forms part of two sequences, identified by the attribute values "SeqID_1" and "SeqID_2".

[0022] Furthermore, the storage unit may contain a sequence order attribute. This attribute defines, for a given sequence of which the NFC device forms part, its position in said sequence. It is noted that this attribute is relevant only for ordered sequences, and may be dispensed with, remain unused or have an arbitrary value for unordered sequences. The use of the sequence order attribute allows for supporting or implementing functions for which an NFC reader needs to receive data in a certain predefined order, as will be described in more detail with reference to some examples hereinbelow. In the shown example, the sequence order attribute has value "2" for "SeqID_1", which indicates that the NFC device occupies the second position in the ordered sequence identified by "SeqID_1". Likewise, the sequence order attribute has value "4" for "SeqID_2", which indicates that the NFC device occupies the fourth position in the ordered sequence identified by "SeqID_2".

[0023] Furthermore, the storage unit may contain a function attribute. The function attribute may enable, at least in part, the external NFC reader to execute a specific function associated with a given sequence of devices. Thus, in addition to functional instructions and/or functional data that are fully contained in the NFC reader and that may be used by said NFC reader simply after having tapped all NFC devices of a given sequence, the NFC reader may also collect functional instructions and/or functional data from the NFC devices and use them to execute a corresponding function. In that case, since the functional instructions and/or functional data should be obtained from a plurality of sources and the function cannot be executed until all of them are collected, a higher security level may be achieved. In the shown example, the function attribute contains a fragment of a discount code for the ordered sequence identified by "SeqID_1". This may mean that an NFC reader should first collect a first fragment of the discount code from another (first) NFC device (i.e., from an NFC device having sequence order attribute value "1" for "SeqID_1") and then collect the second fragment of the discount code from the current (second) NFC device. Possibly, the NFC reader should then obtain further discount code fragments from other NFC devices. Finally, the NFC reader may assemble all code fragments into a discount code and perform a discount operation.

[0024] In one or more embodiments, the function attribute comprises authentication data which enable the NFC reader to perform an authentication algorithm that takes said authentication data as an input. The authentication algorithm may be based on a cryptographic algorithm, such as AES and 3-DES. Alternatively or in addition, the authentication algorithm may verify a predefined code such as a password. In this way, the NFC reader may easily and securely control access to its functions, for example by unlocking itself or enabling certain features only in response to an expected output of the authentication algorithm. For instance, the authentication data may comprise at least a part of a cryptographic key. In the shown example, the function attribute contains a fragment of an authentication key (i.e., a cryptographic key used for authentication purposes) for the ordered sequence identified by "SeqID_2". This may mean that the NFC reader should collect key fragments from a first, second and third NFC device, then collect the key fragment from the current (fourth) NFC device, and possibly collect further key fragments from other NFC devices. Finally, the NFC device may assemble the key fragments into a complete authentication key and execute the authentication algorithm.

[0025] In one or more embodiments, the sequence-specific data comprise a timing attribute which specifies a timing requirement associated with said function. In this way, the function may become time-dependent, which may be attractive for commercial purposes. For instance, in order to encourage a potential consumer to purchase a product quickly, a time-limited discount may be offered. In the shown example, the timing attribute has value "24 hours" for "SeqID_1", which indicates to the NFC reader that the current NFC device should be read within 24 hours after reading the previous NFC device. Thus, in this case, the timing attribute specifies the maximum amount of time that may elapse between reading the previous NFC device and the current NFC device. Likewise, the timing attribute has value "1-Jan-2016" for "SeqID_2", which indicates to the NFC reader that the current NFC device should be read before January 1st, 2016. Thus, in this case, the timing attribute specifies that the current NFC device should be read before a predefined expiry time.

[0026] It is noted that, in the specific case where the function is an authentication algorithm, the authentication steps may also be performed in a time-dependent manner by using the aforementioned timing attribute. For example, explained above, the timing attribute has value "1-Jan-2016" for "SeqID_2", which indicates to the NFC reader that the current NFC device should be read (i.e., that the authentication key fragment should be retrieved from said NFC device) before January 1st, 2016. Furthermore, the authentication steps may be performed in an order-dependent manner using the aforementioned sequence order attribute. For example, as explained above, the sequence order attribute has value "4" for "SeqID_2", which indicates that the NFC device occupies the fourth position in the ordered sequence identified by "SeqID_2". Thus, the authentication will fail if, for instance, one or more of the NFC devices occupying the first, second and third positions in said ordered sequence has not been read before the current NFC device is read.

[0027] In one or more embodiments, the NFC device is an NFC tag. An NFC tag is a relatively cheap and simple device which can easily be attached to all kinds of devices, ranging from home appliances to office equipment. The use of sequences of NFC tags thus facilitates the implementation of a wide range of functions in various environments. However, it is emphasized that the present disclosure is not limited to NFC tags. That is to say, the NFC device may also be implemented differently, for example as an emulated NFC card comprised in a portable device or as an NFC device acting in peer-to-peer mode.

[0028] Fig. 3 shows an illustrative embodiment of an NFC reader 300. The NFC reader 300 comprises an NFC unit 302 and a processing unit 304 which are operatively connected to each other. The NFC unit 302 is configured and adapted to read at least one sequence of devices. Furthermore, the processing unit 304 is configured and adapted to execute a function associated with said sequence only if all devices of said sequence have been read. This may be implemented as follows. For instance, the NFC reader 300 may read, through the NFC unit 302, at least one sequence ID attribute value from an NFC tag which is brought into proximity. The processing unit 304 may then, for example, compare this sequence ID attribute value with a list of known sequence identifiers stored in a memory (not shown) of the NFC reader 300 and, if it matches a known sequence identifier, check if all NFC tags of the particular sequence have already been read. For instance, the memory may contain a table in which, for each known sequence identifier, a set of NFC tag identifiers (Unique Identification Numbers, UIDs) is kept. Typically, the NFC reader 300 will also read the UID of NFC tags, so the processing unit 302 may flag which NFC tags of the particular sequence have already been read, such that said checking is facilitated. It is noted that the list of known sequence identifiers need not necessarily be stored within the memory of the NFC reader 300; it can for instance also be a part of a back-end system which is linked to the NFC reader 300. Alternatively, the information on the complete sequence may be kept in each NFC tag belonging to said sequence. The NFC reader 300 may then simply keep, when it starts reading tags of a particular sequence, a history of UIDs retrieved from tags of said sequence, and pass on this history to a next tag of said sequence. This tag may then check if it is the last tag of the sequence, and if so, transmit a sequence-completion signal to the NFC reader 300. In response to this sequence-completion signal, the NFC reader 300 may execute the function. The skilled person will appreciate that there are other ways to check whether all NFC devices of a given sequence have been read. Furthermore, the skilled person will appreciate that the phrase "reading the NFC device" may in the present context be interpreted broadly. For example, it may suffice that the NFC reader 300 is able to identify an NFC device in its proximity and retrieve only the sequence-specific data relevant for executing a particular function from it. Thus, reading the NFC device does not mean that the whole contents of the NFC device's memory must or can be read. It is conceivable, for example, that an error condition occurs when the NFC reader 300 attempts to read some parts of the NFC device's memory, while it is still possible to retrieve the relevant sequence-specific data. In that case, the condition that the NFC device is read is also deemed to be fulfilled.

[0029] According to the invention, the processing unit 304 is configured and adapted to execute the function only if the devices of the sequence have been read in a predefined order. The use of ordered sequences may increase the threshold for unlocking some functions, for example. In order to further increase this threshold, the function may be made time-dependent in the manner described above. More specifically, the processing unit 304 may be configured and adapted to execute said function only if the time elapsed between reading particular ones of the devices of a sequence does not exceed a predefined threshold. Alternatively or in addition, the processing unit 304 may be configured and adapted to execute said function only if at least one of said devices has been read before a predefined expiry time. The processing unit 304 may use timing attribute values read from the devices in order to determine which timing requirements apply to particular devices of the sequence.

[0030] Fig. 4 shows an illustrative embodiment of an NFC system 400. The NFC system 400 comprises an NFC reader 300 of the kind set forth and a plurality of NFC devices 100 of the kind set forth. In this example, the NFC devices 100 form part of an unordered sequence. Thus, the NFC reader 300 will execute a function associated with said sequence provided that all NFC devices 100 of the sequence have been read, regardless of the order in which the NFC devices 100 have been read.

[0031] Fig. 5 shows another illustrative embodiment of an NFC system 500. The NFC system 500 comprises an NFC reader 300 of the kind set forth and a plurality of NFC devices 100 of the kind set forth. In this example, the NFC devices 100 form part of an ordered sequence. Thus, the NFC reader 300 will execute a function associated with said sequence provided that all NFC devices 100 of the sequence have been read in a specific, predefined order. In the shown example, the middle NFC device 100 should be read first, then the upper NFC device 100 should be read, then the lower NFC device 100 should be read. The storage unit of each NFC device 100 may store a sequence order attribute which enables that the NFC reader 300 quickly checks if the NFC devices 100 are read in the correct order. Alternatively, the order information may be kept in the memory of the NFC reader 300, for example in a table which contains, for each sequence identified by a sequence identifier, at least two tuples of the form << tag UID, position >>. It is noted that the order information need not necessarily be kept in the NFC reader 300; it can for instance also be kept in a back-end database which is linked to the NFC reader 300.

[0032] Fig. 6 shows a further illustrative embodiment of an NFC system 600. The NFC system 500 comprises an NFC reader 300 of the kind set forth and a plurality of NFC devices 100 of the kind set forth. In this example, the NFC devices 100 are read in sequence as part of a user authentication procedure, for example in order to enable user access to the NFC reader 300. The NFC reader 300 may for example collect authentication key fragments from the NFC devices 100 in three subsequent authentications steps, assemble the key fragments into a complete authentication key and execute an authentication algorithm that takes the assembled authentication key as input. The NFC reader 300 may enable user access to itself in dependence on an output of the authentication algorithm. This provides a convenient yet effective way to unlock the NFC reader 300. It is noted that the authentication algorithm may be regarded as a particular instance of a function of the kind set forth. Thus, the NFC reader 300 may perform a sequence-specific authentication function by means of which it unlocks itself in response to a correct authentication input.

[0033] The devices, methods and systems described herein may be used to advantage in various environments and contexts. For example, a product manufacturer could manufacture a number of goods equipped with NFC tags, and each of them when bought in a set can form a sequence, and thus buying such a sequence can entail you for certain benefits, such as discounts and loyalty points. Similar benefits could be offered by in shopping malls or by retail outlets. When a user buys a particular set of DVD/CD's, for example, each having NFC tags that form part of a sequence, the user may be able to unlock a bonus feature by tapping each NFC tag to an NFC reader embedded in a DVD/CD player. Other applications may be envisaged as well: for instance, tapping an air-conditioner remote control after tapping a health monitor device could automatically tune an air-conditioning device. Furthermore, using a sequenced authentication mechanism based on NFC devices, a home-security or office-security system can be improved and customized. More specifically, the threshold for accessing certain areas can be increased by requiring tapping a sequence of tags instead of stand-alone or individual tags. This threshold may be further increased by requiring tapping said tags in a predefined order. Applications in tourism and gaming are conceivable as well.

[0034] The systems and methods described herein may be embodied by a computer program or a plurality of computer programs, which may exist in a variety of forms both active and inactive in a single computer system or across multiple computer systems. For example, they may exist as software program(s) comprised of program instructions in source code, object code, executable code or other formats for performing some of the steps. Any of the above may be embodied on a computer-readable medium, which may include storage devices and signals, in compressed or uncompressed form.

[0035] As used herein, the term "mobile device" refers to any type of portable electronic device, including a cellular telephone, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), smartphone, tablet etc. Furthermore, the term "computer" refers to any electronic device comprising a processor, such as a general-purpose central processing unit (CPU), a specific-purpose processor or a microcontroller. A computer is capable of receiving data (an input), of performing a sequence of predetermined operations thereupon, and of producing thereby a result in the form of information or signals (an output). Depending on the context, the term "computer" will mean either a processor in particular or more generally a processor in association with an assemblage of interrelated elements contained within a single case or housing.

[0036] The term "processor" refers to a data processing circuit that may be a microprocessor, a co-processor, a microcontroller, a microcomputer, a central processing unit, a field programmable gate array (FPGA), a programmable logic circuit, and/or any circuit that manipulates signals (analog or digital) based on operational instructions that are stored in a memory. The term "storage unit" or "memory" refers to a storage circuit or multiple storage circuits such as read-only memory, random access memory, volatile memory, non-volatile memory, static memory, dynamic memory, Flash memory, cache memory, and/or any circuit that stores digital information.

[0037] As used herein, a "computer-readable medium" or "storage medium" may be any means that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport a computer program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device. The computer-readable medium may be, for example but not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system, apparatus, device, or propagation medium. More specific examples (non-exhaustive list) of the computer-readable medium may include the following: an electrical connection having one or more wires, a portable computer diskette, a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM or Flash memory), an optical fiber, a portable compact disc read-only memory (CDROM), a digital versatile disc (DVD), a Blu-ray disc (BD), and a memory card.

[0038] It is noted that the embodiments above have been described with reference to different subject-matters. In particular, some embodiments may have been described with reference to method-type claims whereas other embodiments may have been described with reference to apparatus-type claims. However, a person skilled in the art will gather from the above that, unless otherwise indicated, in addition to any combination of features belonging to one type of subject-matter also any combination of features relating to different subject-matters, in particular a combination of features of the method-type claims and features of the apparatus-type claims, is considered to be disclosed with this document.

[0039] Furthermore, it is noted that the drawings are schematic. In different drawings, similar or identical elements are provided with the same reference signs. Furthermore, it is noted that in an effort to provide a concise description of the illustrative embodiments, implementation details which fall into the customary practice of the skilled person may not have been described. It should be appreciated that in the development of any such implementation, as in any engineering or design project, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made in order to achieve the developers' specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which may vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it should be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of design, fabrication, and manufacture for those of ordinary skill.

[0040] Finally, it is noted that the skilled person will be able to design many alternative embodiments without departing from the scope of the appended claims. In the claims, any reference sign placed between parentheses shall not be construed as limiting the claim. The word "comprise(s)" or "comprising" does not exclude the presence of elements or steps other than those listed in a claim. The word "a" or "an" preceding an element does not exclude the presence of a plurality of such elements. Measures recited in the claims may be implemented by means of hardware comprising several distinct elements and/or by means of a suitably programmed processor. In a device claim enumerating several means, several of these means may be embodied by one and the same item of hardware. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.

LIST OF REFERENCE SIGNS



[0041] 
100
NFC device
102
storage unit
200
content of storage unit
300
NFC reader
302
NFC unit
304
processing unit
400
NFC system
500
NFC system
600
NFC system



Claims

1. A near field communication device (100) comprising a storage unit (102), wherein said storage unit (102) is configured and adapted to store sequence-specific data relating to at least one sequence of devices of which said near field communication device (100) forms part, and wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence identifier attribute which identifies the sequence of devices, characterized in that the sequence of devices is an ordered sequence, and wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence order attribute which specifies a position of the near field communication device (100) in said ordered sequence.
 
2. A near field communication device (100) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a function attribute which enables, at least in part, an external near field communication reader (300) to execute a function associated with the sequence of devices.
 
3. A near field communication device (100) as claimed in claim 2, wherein the function attribute comprises authentication data which enable said near field communication reader (300) to perform an authentication algorithm that takes said authentication data as an input.
 
4. A near field communication device (100) as claimed in claim 3, wherein the authentication data comprise at least a part of a cryptographic key.
 
5. A near field communication device (100) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a timing attribute which specifies a timing requirement associated with said function.
 
6. A near field communication device (100) as claimed in any preceding claim, being a near field communication tag.
 
7. A method for configuring a near field communication device (100), comprising storing, in a storage unit (102) of said near field communication device (100), sequence-specific data relating to at least one sequence of devices of which said near field communication device (100) forms part, wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence identifier attribute which identifies the sequence of devices, characterized in that the sequence of devices is an ordered sequence, and wherein the sequence-specific data comprise a sequence order attribute which specifies a position of the near field communication device (100) in said ordered sequence.
 
8. A near field communication reader (300) comprising: a near field communication unit (302) which is configured and adapted to read at least one sequence of devices; and a processing unit (304) which is configured and adapted to execute a function associated with said sequence only if all devices of said sequence have been read, characterized in that the processing unit (304) is configured and adapted to execute said function only if the devices of said sequence have been read in a predefined order.
 
9. A near field communication reader (300) as claimed in claim 8, wherein the processing unit (304) is configured and adapted to execute said function only if the time elapsed between reading particular ones of said devices does not exceed a predefined threshold and/or only if at least one of said devices has been read before a predefined expiry time.
 
10. A near field communication reader (300) as claimed in claim 8 or 9, wherein the function is an authentication algorithm that takes authentication data retrieved from said devices as input, and wherein the processing unit (304) is further configured and adapted to enable user access to the near field communication reader (300) in dependence on an output of said authentication algorithm.
 
11. A method for facilitating the execution of functions, comprising: reading, by a near field communication unit (302) comprised in a near field communication reader (300), at least one sequence of devices; and executing, by a processing unit (304) comprised in said near field communication reader (300), a function associated with said sequence only if all devices of said sequence have been read, characterized in that the processing unit (304) executes said function only if the devices of said sequence have been read in a predefined order.
 
12. A non-transitory computer program product comprising instructions which, when being executing by a processing unit, cause said processing unit to carry out a method as claimed in claim 7 or 11.
 


Ansprüche

1. Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100), die eine Speichereinheit (102) aufweist, wobei die Speichereinheit (102) dafür konfiguriert und dazu ausgebildet ist, folgenspezifische Daten zu speichern, die sich auf mindestens eine Folge von Vorrichtungen beziehen, wovon die Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) einen Teil bildet, und wobei die folgenspezifischen Daten ein Folgenkennungsattribut umfassen, das die Folge von Vorrichtungen kennzeichnet, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Folge von Vorrichtungen eine geordnete Folge ist, und wobei die folgenspezifischen Daten ein Folgenordnungsattribut umfassen, das eine Position der Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) in der geordneten Folge spezifiziert.
 
2. Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die folgenspezifischen Daten ein Funktionsattribut umfassen, das mindestens teilweise ermöglicht, dass eine externe Nahfeldkommunikationsleseeinrichtung (300) eine Funktion in Zusammenhang mit der Folge von Vorrichtungen ausführt.
 
3. Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Funktionsattribut Authentifizierungsdaten umfasst, die ermöglichen, dass die Nahfeldkommunikationsleseeinrichtung (300) einen Authentifizierungsalgorithmus ausführt, der die Authentifizierungsdaten als eine Eingabe verwendet.
 
4. Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Authentifizierungsdaten mindestens einen Teil eines kryptografischen Schlüssels umfassen.
 
5. Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei die folgenspezifischen Daten ein Timing-Attribut umfassen, das eine Timing-Anforderung in Zusammenhang mit der Funktion spezifiziert.
 
6. Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, die ein Nahfeldkommunikations-Tag ist.
 
7. Verfahren zum Konfigurieren einer Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100), das das Speichern von folgenspezifischen Daten, die sich auf mindestens eine Folge von Vorrichtungen beziehen, wovon die Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) einen Teil bildet, in einer Speichereinheit (102) der Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) umfasst, wobei die folgenspezifischen Daten ein Folgenkennungsattribut umfassen, das die Folge von Vorrichtungen kennzeichnet, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Folge von Vorrichtungen eine geordnete Folge ist, und wobei die folgenspezifischen Daten ein Folgenordnungsattribut umfassen, das eine Position der Nahfeldkommunikationsvorrichtung (100) in der geordneten Folge spezifiziert.
 
8. Nahfeldkommunikationsleseeinrichtung (300), die aufweist: eine Nahfeldkommunikationseinheit (302), die dafür konfiguriert und dazu ausgebildet ist, mindestens eine Folge von Vorrichtungen zu lesen; und eine Verarbeitungseinheit (304), die dafür konfiguriert und dazu ausgebildet ist, eine Funktion in Zusammenhang mit der Folge nur auszuführen, wenn alle Vorrichtungen der Folge gelesen wurden, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Verarbeitungseinheit (304) dafür konfiguriert und dazu ausgebildet ist, die Funktion nur auszuführen, wenn die Vorrichtungen der Folge in einer vordefinierten Reihenfolge gelesen wurden.
 
9. Nahfeldkommunikationsleseeinrichtung (300) nach Anspruch 8, wobei die Verarbeitungseinheit (304) dafür konfiguriert und dazu ausgebildet ist, die Funktion nur auszuführen, wenn die Zeit, die zwischen dem Lesen bestimmter einzelner der Vorrichtungen verstrichen ist, eine vordefinierte Schwelle nicht überschreitet, und/oder nur, wenn mindestens eine der Vorrichtungen vor einer vordefinierten Ablaufzeit gelesen wurde.
 
10. Nahfeldkommunikationsleseeinrichtung (300) nach Anspruch 8 oder 9, wobei die Funktion ein Authentifizierungsalgorithmus ist, der Authentifizierungsdaten, die aus den Vorrichtungen abgerufen werden, als Eingabe verwendet, und wobei die Verarbeitungseinheit (304) ferner dafür konfiguriert und dazu ausgebildet ist, Benutzerzugriff auf die Nahfeldkommunikationsleseeinrichtung (300) in Abhängigkeit von einer Ausgabe des Authentifizierungsalgorithmus zu ermöglichen.
 
11. Verfahren zum Ermöglichen der Ausführung von Funktionen, das umfasst: das Lesen mindestens einer Folge von Vorrichtungen durch eine Nahfeldkommunikationseinheit (302), die in einer Nahfeldkommunikationsleseeinrichtung (300) enthalten ist; und das Ausführen einer Funktion in Zusammenhang mit der Folge durch eine Verarbeitungseinheit (304), die in der Nahfeldkommunikationsleseeinrichtung (300) enthalten ist, nur, wenn alle Vorrichtungen der Folge gelesen wurden, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Verarbeitungseinheit (304) die Funktion nur ausführt, wenn die Vorrichtungen der Folge in einer vordefinierten Reihenfolge gelesen wurden.
 
12. Nichtflüchtiges Computerprogrammprodukt, das Anweisungen aufweist, die bei Ausführung durch eine Verarbeitungseinheit bewirken, dass die Verarbeitungseinheit ein Verfahren nach Anspruch 7 oder 11 ausführt.
 


Revendications

1. Dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) comprenant une unité de mémorisation (102), dans lequel ladite unité de mémorisation (102) est configurée et adaptée pour mémoriser des données spécifiques à la séquence relatives à au moins une séquence de dispositifs dont fait partie ledit dispositif de communication en champ proche (100), et dans lequel les données spécifiques à la séquence comprennent un attribut d'identifiant de séquence qui identifie la séquence de dispositifs, caractérisé en ce que la séquence de dispositifs est une séquence ordonnée, et dans lequel les données spécifiques à la séquence comprennent un attribut d'ordre de séquence qui spécifie une position du dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) dans ladite séquence ordonnée.
 
2. Dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les données spécifiques à la séquence comprennent un attribut de fonction qui permet, au moins en partie, à un lecteur de communication en champ proche externe (300) d'exécuter une fonction associée à la séquence de dispositifs.
 
3. Dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel l'attribut de fonction comprend des données d'authentification qui permettent audit lecteur de communication en champ proche (300) d'exécuter un algorithme d'authentification qui utilise lesdites données d'authentification comme entrée.
 
4. Dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) selon la revendication 3, dans lequel les données d'authentification comprennent au moins une partie d'une clé cryptographique.
 
5. Dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) selon n'importe quelle revendication précédente, dans lequel les données spécifiques à la séquence comprennent un attribut de rythme qui spécifie une exigence de rythme associée à ladite fonction.
 
6. Dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) selon n'importe quelle revendication précédente, le dispositif étant une étiquette de communication en champ proche.
 
7. Procédé de configuration d'un dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) comprenant la mémorisation, dans une unité de mémorisation (102) dudit dispositif de communication en champ proche (100), de données spécifiques à la séquence relatives à au moins une séquence de dispositifs dont fait partie ledit dispositif de communication en champ proche (100), les données spécifiques à la séquence comprenant un attribut d'identifiant de séquence qui identifie la séquence de dispositifs, caractérisé en ce que la séquence de dispositifs est une séquence ordonnée, et dans lequel les données spécifiques à la séquence comprennent un attribut d'ordre de séquence qui spécifie une position du dispositif de communication en champ proche (100) dans ladite séquence ordonnée.
 
8. Lecteur de communication en champ proche (300) comprenant : une unité de communication en champ proche (302) configurée et adaptée pour lire au moins une séquence de dispositifs ; et une unité de traitement (304) configurée et adaptée pour exécuter une fonction associée à ladite séquence uniquement si tous les dispositifs de ladite séquence ont été lus, caractérisé en ce que l'unité de traitement (304) est configurée et adaptée pour exécuter ladite fonction uniquement si les dispositifs de ladite séquence ont été lus dans un ordre prédéfini.
 
9. Lecteur de communication en champ proche (300) selon la revendication 8, dans lequel l'unité de traitement (304) est configurée et adaptée pour exécuter ladite fonction uniquement si le temps écoulé entre la lecture de dispositifs particuliers desdits dispositifs ne dépasse pas un seuil prédéfini et/ou uniquement si au moins un desdits dispositifs a été lu avant un temps d'expiration prédéfini.
 
10. Lecteur de communication en champ proche (300) selon la revendication 8 ou 9, dans lequel la fonction est un algorithme d'authentification qui utilise des données d'authentification recouvrées auprès desdits dispositifs comme entrée, et dans lequel l'unité de traitement (304) est configurée et adaptée en outre pour permettre un accès d'utilisateur au lecteur de communication en champ proche (300), en fonction d'un résultat dudit algorithme d'authentification.
 
11. Procédé de facilitation de l'exécution de fonctions, comprenant : la lecture, par une unité de communication en champ proche (302) comprise dans un lecteur de communication en champ proche (300), d'au moins une séquence de dispositifs ; et l'exécution, par une unité de traitement (304) comprise dans ledit lecteur de communication en champ proche (300), d'une fonction associée à ladite séquence uniquement si tous les dispositifs de ladite séquence ont été lus, caractérisé en ce que l'unité de traitement (304) exécute ladite fonction uniquement si les dispositifs de ladite séquence ont été lus dans un ordre prédéfini.
 
12. Produit-programme informatique non transitoire comprenant des instructions qui, à leur exécution par une unité de traitement, amènent ladite unité de traitement à réaliser un procédé selon la revendication 7 ou 11.
 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description