Telecommunications, Automotive and Market Research

More than 15 years in the mobile telecommunications industry and an industry analyst since 1998.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New and Interesting NFC Developments

After my little hiatus, I've been finding the pace of near field communication (NFC) deployments and trials is picking up its pace.  Here's a sampling of what's been happening.

This is the area I've long said has to get the focus of development in order to lay the groundwork for mobile payments (groundwork means enough phones having NFC capability). These are primarily small deployments, minor applications, but are the sort of thing that is going to be needed to get people thinking about NFC, using it, and, more important, developers finding ways to integrate NFC into useful, productive, profitable applications.

Blackberry Tag was announced by Research in Motion in early October. 
[Tag] will allow users to share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content by simply tapping their BlackBerry smartphones together. BlackBerry Tag will also enable friends to instantly add one another as contacts on BBM™ (BlackBerry® Messenger). 
RIM took the industry lead last year when it announced it would eventually include NFC in all its devices. RIM is also opening its NFC application programming interface to allow developers to start making their own NFC apps.

Media Junction deploys smart posters for Jamiroquoi's European concert tour. Despite the lack of NFC-equipped phones (only the Google Nexus S and Samsung Tocca). Neil Cartwright of Media Junction says the phones will "automatically sense the contact and take the user to a webpage on their mobile browser. Users will be able to share the page with other fans and friends once viewed and they know secret URL.  The exclusive content, a behind-the-scene video, was specially commissioned for the promotion to provide a strong incentive for fans to tap on the poster."

Vox Cinemas in Dubai started using NFC for in-theater promotions using smart posters. The system was introduced by Proxama.  Exit displays allow NFC phone users to tap a tag to access movie listings and a Nokia Facebook 'Like' page.

Art Lovers Rate Exhibits with NFC at the STRP Festival in Netherlands. According to NXP, the semiconductor company that provides NFC chipsets, "By simply tapping a work of art with an NFC enabled device, visitors can rate pieces... Enabling visitors to share their appreciation for the arts with their friends via social media, the Android app also gives visitors information about the art through a synthesized voice." I'm not completely certain what a "synthesized voice" is, but but at least uses NFC.

A Concept Medical Device called MiniME is a personal device that monitors "ECG, blood pressure, heart rate, pulse oximetry, body temperature, blood glucose, cholesterol, hemoglobin and prothrombin time. Data are communicated through a cloud or internet site and shared with healthcare professionals via mobile devices." Even though it's not expected to become a commercial device in its current form, the MiniME, designed by Sweden's Ergonomidesign is expected to bring together all the stakeholders in the remote monitoring ecosystem.

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