INDIATECHONLINE SPECIAL FOCUS:
Wireless technologies like NFC and Bluetooth launch a new era of worry-free living
Bangalore, June 13 2016: Many of us have reached the age when a pair of spectacles mislaid or a wallet lost, can seem like a larger crisis than all the weighty matters discussed nightly on TV . Time was, when we had to round up a posse of the unwilling near-and-dear and send them out in search parties to retrieve our missing possessions. Thanks to some innovative extensions of wireless technology, there is a better way. You click an app on your phone and a tag attached to your prized possession, announces where the truant is hidden.
But it is not just geriatrics like us, who should welcome these new tools to worry-free living: For the Young and Restless, smart tags enable levels of convenience that were hitherto undreamt. You enter a restaurant and tap your table with your phone. The entire menu opens up on your handset, working with any preset restrictions you may have set -- like vegetarian or diabetic.
These may seem like trivial applications -- that is because the smart tags story is still a work in progress, limited only by one's imagination and creativity. The trend is largely driven by two technologies: Near Field Communication and Bluetooth.
NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices over a 5-10 cm distance. NFC tags are thin, coin-sized circuits which can be fashioned like stickers. They are passive ie, they have no power source of their own and draw it wirelessly from another active NFC device -- like most new smartphones today. Tags, can typically store from 100 to 1000 bytes of information and these can be programmed to do just about anything: transferring pictures, text and video links. You can embed an NFC tag on any surface -- in a brochure for example -- and it will open up an entire multimedia document. Such tags are now available by the dozen, in attractive shapes for around Rs 50 each and they are reusable. Programming them on your phone using special NFC apps is quite easy -- so you can tweak the tags to do a variety of things. Some wireless speakers use NFC to connect to the phone.
The biggest use of NFC tags may be in the payments business. Many points of sale now allow you to pay by bringing your phone close to the NFC station: All your credit card information remains secure.
The more basic use of tags to track items, people and pets, is best with Bluetooth. This is usually good for 10 metres or so. Bluetooth tags are larger and stay in constant communication with a Bluetooth enabled device like a phone. Indian companies have launched some useful versions ( see Evotag review below).
Such wireless ways to connect have overtaken technologies like Bar codes, Quick Response Codes, even Radio Frequency ID (RFID) because they are simpler, not necessarily better. In today's tech duniya -- your solution must work for dummies -- or die.
Evotag: Find it fast!
A Gurgaon-based startup, Evoxyz Technologies has made a name in micro location
technologies and launched arguably India's first Bluetooth tracker, Evotag. The
tiny rubber encased device needs to be paired with the Evotag app on your phone.
This allows you to set up one of many use scenarios: locate a key chain or similar item
( to which you have attached the tag); locate a pet; know when your child strays away
from you; locate baggage when it comes near you -- on an airport conveyor belt... You
can ask the lost item to announce itself -- with a ring. In another useful situation, you can
stick the tag on your front door and programme your phone to ring if the door is opened.|
In fact the tag is a bahuroopi that you can train for any number of situations.
With the tag you also get an LED torch -keychain to which you can attach the tag if you
like. It costs Rs 1399 -- a small price to pay for peace of mind. It will be available later
this week from online portals like Amazon, Snapdeal etc or from the parent company.
See a video on Evotag in our Tech Video spot on the home page for a few days.
After that, find the video here