Near Field Communication Coupled with the Belimo Assistant App
What is Near Field Communication, and how does it work? Near Field Communication (NFC) is a wireless communication protocol defined by ISO/IEC 14443. It operates at a frequency of 13.56 MHz between an active reader (e.g., smartphone) and a passive device (e.g., Belimo actuator). For communication to occur between two devices using NFC, the NFC interfaces must be placed close to each other. Belimo NFC works best with direct contact. However, communication works without direct contact at distances of up to 1.18" [3 cm] away from the actuator. For Apple devices, a Bluetooth to NFC dongle is required.
Belimo products with integrated NFC provides application data access. With a smartphone and the Belimo Assistant App, you can easily program, commission, and troubleshoot your Belimo products with integrated Near Field Communications (NFC). Some of the functionalities you have access to when working with one of our NFC enabled products are; device type, current position, operating data, and setting parameters. NFC provides the data access you need to ensure peace of mind installation and optimal performance.
To make Configuration changes, click the gear icon at the bottom of the screen. On the Configuration screen, select the specific category you would like to make changes (i.e., Setpoint, Application, etc.).
To check the Diagnostics, press the heart icon on the bottom of the screen. The Diagnosis screen provides information on direction changes, starts, mechanical overloads, and voltage failures.
Common NFC Question and Answers
How can Belimo devices be accessed over NFC?
Belimo devices with NFC can be accessed using the Belimo Assistant App, which is available for free through the App Store for Apple devices or Goggle Play for Android devices. Start the App on your smart device, and hold it within 1.18" [3 cm] of the NFC symbol on the Belimo product, a connection will automatically be established.
What are the advantages of using NFC with the Belimo Assistant App?
NFC has several advantages
- Operates with or without power to the actuator; configuration can be downloaded before the electrical installation is completed.
- Easy to use interface with extensive configuration settings/diagnosis and commissioning tools at your fingertips.
- Automatic app updates to ensure that the latest Belimo devices are supported.
- Direct communication with the device, no second-guessing.
What information is exchanged over NFC?
While using the Belimo Assistant App, the user has access to the following:
- Settings for communication and application parameters
- Software information such as the firmware version
- System utilization and history
- Current sensor values, target setpoints
- Warnings and error reports for diagnostics
- Newly added features with each major update
What are the system requirements for NFC communication?
Android smartphones/tablets with NFC enabled can connect directly to Belimo products. Other smart devices (such as Android devices without NFC capabilities or Apple iOS devices) cannot connect directly. If they support Bluetooth, they can be connected indirectly via a ZIP-BT-NFC module. The Belimo ZIP-BT-NFC is a wireless Bluetooth gateway that translates data between NFC and Bluetooth.
Which Belimo products are NFC compatible?
Products identified with the NFC logo. There are currently several Belimo products that are equipped with NFC. Refer to the latest Belimo catalog or contact your Belimo representative for a current list.
Is NFC communication between the reader and Belimo products encrypted?
No, a person needs to be within an inch of the product to access NFC communication, which reduces the risk of being seen by unauthorized personnel.
What is the maximum distance between an NFC reader (smartphone) and a passive NFC tag for successful communication?
Measured maximum distances of successful NFC functionality with current smartphones or NFC-readers is less than 5 cm. Belimo products may work up to 1.18" [3 cm].
RFID tags, how does a Belimo device block those signals?
There are numerous RFID technologies with different frequency bands. Belimo products incorporate NFC technology, which utilizes a carrier frequency of 13.56 MHz and contains tiny antennas within the devices. With this, the NFC tags cannot be read from far like some other RFID tags.
Can an NFC signal be broadcasted into a building that affects Belimo devices?
NFC signals cannot be broadcasted over larger distances.
Can the NFC signal between Belimo devices and NFC readers be "cloned"?
An NFC signal can be eavesdropped and cloned only if it is physically intercepted in between the NFC reader/smartphone and NFC-tag of the Belimo device; the person eavesdropping has to have physical access to the device.
Can the Belimo Cloud via Ethernet be read using NFC?
Does NFC communication read and write some data to the customer's smartphone?
The configuration data is not permanently stored on the phone, just displayed through the App. The user can change the configuration and download the changes to the Belimo device. The data is deleted after it has been sent, and when the App is closed.
Will the information received on a device over NFC be relayed to the Cloud?
Yes. All data read from a Belimo device is relayed to the Cloud by the Belimo Assistant App. The App may be used offline, in which case data transfer is not possible.
How to use NFC with an iPhone?
With the ZIP-BT-NFC module is a Bluetooth conversion for the iPhone and iPad, enabling NFC. You also need to install the Belimo Assistant App. The ZIP-BT-NFC is updated automatically by the Assistant App as required.
For further information, contact your local sales manager.