I recently read an article at trendblog.net about 18 Creative & Useful Ways To Use NFC Tags With Your Smartphone, the 2014 update noting uses at home, in the car, at the office, in the gym … in school and in business. All fun and interesting ways to use NFC tags to make everyday tasks easier—well, at least more fun. And all of the uses mentioned are outside the realm of mobile payments and smart wallets. And some of these ideas are really cool. But, is near field communication really the next big thing?
Now, I’m not a techie by any means, and well … dare I admit it … I am of a certain age and generation who learned to use technology early in my professional career, as terminals, mainframes and disk packs were being phased out in favor of PCs, servers and internet connections. My first mobile phone was purchased out of necessity during my stint as a “road warrior” traveling regularly for my job — when long distance calls were expensive and payphones were becoming a thing of the past (a payphone, you ask?). But I grew as the available technology grew. And while I’m not tied to technology, I do appreciate the convenience it provides. I am always tickled at innovative ways to use technology especially when it is something I can relate to myself. And NFC is definitely a technology I can relate to! In the past 18 months I’ve followed a lot of creative NFC implementations around the world. Some appeal to sheer convenience, others speak to hobbies and passions, and yet more touch on actual health, safety and community issues.
Here are some of my favorites:
NFC for pet identification: If you have ever lost a pet, you know the worry and stress when a furry member of the family is missing. And while more pets (including mine) are micro-chipped, you still have to hope that someone picks up your pet and goes to a vet to have the chip read. What if you could just tap a collar and get the information you need to return that pet to its loving family. That is what PetHub is all about. Already successful in the U.S., it has recently launched in the U.K. According to PetHub’s website, in 2012, of the “pack members” that went missing, 97% of them were home in one day! And 25% of those were home in less than one hour. Those are some pretty impressive statistics.
Granny-tracker smart bracelet: Every time I see a Silver Alert, I wonder if the senior citizen who is lost has Alzheimer’s Disease. Do they know where they are? Do they know where home is? Taiwan Mobile just recently launched a wearable device fitted with NFC to help return lost seniors to their loved ones. In partnership with the Foundation for the Welfare of the Elderly and the Bjorgaas Social Welfare Foundation, Taiwan Mobile plans to hand out 4,000 of the bracelets in Taipei and New Taipei city. With a simple tap of a smartphone to the bracelet, you can notify family of the location of their lost loved one. Again, a use of NFC that should be implemented worldwide.
NFC during hospital stays: I recently had a family member in the hospital for an extended stay. And while technology has moved leaps and bound in the field of medicine, I was still amazed at the cumbersome process in administering medications with scanning barcodes, entering data in a terminal, following up on doses or additional meds — and the time involved with just one patient. Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been at the forefront of testing NFC technology for medial administration. It’s most recent tests center on NFC that could provide more than just verification of which medications are administered—it could also enable nurses to enter information into the software while at a patient’s bedside, including pain level and medication dosage based on that information. That data could then be stored, to be viewed by other health-care practitioners when the next dosage is scheduled. The tablet would transmit information back to the patient’s electronic health record via a Wi-Fi connection.
Technology for the museum-goer: Love going to museums but hate doing guided tours? The London History Museum recently worked with Nokia to provide smartphone users with a complete museum experience at their own pace. Tags throughout the museum can be tapped to provide additional information about the exhibit, view art objects and artifacts in the archives on their phones, or share and “like” what they are seeing on social sites.
Often, when hearing about technology innovations, the focus is on the technology itself — it’s cool, it’s innovative. But, when you can look past the gadgets and point to real life scenarios that real people experience, you gain a whole new appreciation for technology as an enabler.
About the Author:
Tracee Lee Beebe brings a multi-faceted approach and hands-on expertise to marketing and communications. She joined the NFC Bootcamp team in 2012. In her past roles, she has consulted on marketing initiatives with several management consulting firms, and has served as director of marketing and corporate communications during her career. Tracee has have served in numerous communications roles over the years, including companies like Vystar Credit Union, Corbel and Company (now Relius, a SunGard company), and State Farm Mutual Insurance Companies. As a consultant, she has worked for clients like Bank of America, Wachovia, and Boston Scientific. A member of the International Association of Business Communicators, Tracee holds a degree in marketing management and a Six Sigma Green Belt certification.