Get smart -- with tags!

13th June 2016
Get smart -- with tags!
The Evotag can be used in a variety of scenarios -- including this one: a keychain locator

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