NFC in Action

I was browsing YouTube and found a few interesting demonstrations the uses of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.  

NFC for Beginners by GeekBlogTV demonstrates how to use an NFC phone to communicate with tags that are programmed for specific functions. The demo uses an app (NFC Task Launcher) from GooglePlay to program tags in order to perform designated tasks.

Android Home Automation Demo | Voice + NFC demonstrates two technologies: one for speech recognition and one for NFC. Armando Ferreira places NFC tags in different areas and appliances in his house. When tags are requested to perform tasks by an NFC phone, the hands-off automation is demonstrated.

Android provides an NFC framework for app developers to develop NFC mobile apps. NFC Basics  describes the Android framework APIs that support NFC features. For example, the Android app NFC Task Launcher, such as the one used by GeekBlogTV, was developed with Android framework APIs (Application Programming Interface).

The Windows phone Proximity API provides support for NFC communication. In this YouTube video Lumia App Labs #8 – Developing NFC apps in Windows Phone 8, Andreas Jakl demonstrates how one can use Proximity API in a mobile app to communicate with NFC tags and create unique application-launch tags.

NFC Tags Can Boost Your Product Sale

I found an NFC App Development book, “NFC Application Development for Android” and decided to use the book as a guide to develop my NFC app. Since I didn’t have the Android programing environment on my new NFC enabled tablet, I downloaded and installed software. While I was waiting for the process to complete, I wished that the book had provided an NFC tag to help me set up a development environment. That would save me time.

What is an NFC tag? Readers of this blog might wonder. Here is a short introduction. An NFC tag may look like a sticker; it contains an antenna and a limited amount of memory. When an NFC device touches a tag, the tag takes a small amount of power from it and activates its electronics to transfer data to the NFC device. There are different types of tags and different tags have different memory capacities. Usually the information is stored in a specific data format (NDEF-NFC data exchange format) in the tag.

NFC tags cost about a dollar. As the price drops, we shall see significant usage increase since most of the smart phones are NFC enabled. NFC tags can be embedded almost anything including posters, wearable devices, clothing, etc. For example, as a prototype effort, Adidas added NFC tags to boost their running shoes sale. Shoppers could find details product information by tapping their NFC enabled phones to an NFC tag embedded in “lace jewel”. The jewel receives live social networking feeds from a combination of platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so that it also can provide product reviews to the shoppers. It’s a powerful experience. I believe similar user experience will be integrated to our everyday life soon.