The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show is the highlight of the year for showcasing technology. It’s the showplace for television screens larger than the average room, outrageous marketing campaigns, and booths larger than some small towns. Continuing the trend of incorporating near field communication (NFC) into consumer products, manufacturers are embedding NFC chips into devices for increased connectivity with other devices in the internet of things (IoT). Consumers can use NFC not only with computers and smart phones, but now with smart televisions, major appliances, and with the ever-expanding selection of wearable technology. The tap-and-go technology provided by NFC offers consumers many new interactive experiences. Here’s a look at the top 5 NFC applications included in this year’s CES.
PRACTICAL HEALTHCARE APPLICATIONS
Wearables are once again one of the main attractions at CES 2015. Many NFC wearables include health and fitness trackers, but this year the technology goes way beyond smart watches and fitness bands. This year brings Bluetooth Hearing Aids that connect to a tablet and smart phone, a hands-free temperature monitor for infants, a floating UV sensor for your pool used to gauge how much sunscreen is appropriate, and games designed to increase mobility and lessen back pain.
GREEN TECHNOLOGY AND CLEAN ENERGY
Solar chargers for your devices, your home, and your office capable of providing a full days charge in 90 seconds, a gadget capable of turning any air conditioning unit into a smart AC, and the continued use of smart electric and gas meters are at the forefront of NFC use by the energy industry. The growing demand for clean energy and solar power has created a huge market for new technology. NFC is now incorporated into wind farms, solar panels, and drilling equipment. As our need for sustainable energy becomes more urgent, the use of NFC in the energy industry will become the norm rather than a novelty.
NEW TECH TO TEACH KIDS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
One of the best developments this year at CES is the use of creative technologies and applications to help kids learn science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Kids can now learn the basic concepts of computer programming from entertaining robots that break the information into fun, colorful blocks that are easy to understand and promote a desire for more learning. Schools across the country have begun using NFC enabled devices in the classroom and as a teaching tool for educators.
NFC AND RETAIL SHOPPING EXPERIENCES
NFC payments are finally here to stay thanks to Apple adopting NFC in their Apple Pay application. 2015 promises to finally be the year of NFC in terms of payments, and we will now start to see new apps that not only enable consumers to pay for goods and services with a tap of their smart phones, but also allow brands to engage directly with their customers. 2015 brings NFC tags to product shelves that will let consumers access nutritional and health information about products. If you have allergies to nuts or other foods, NFC tags will identify these ingredients and alert you to possible danger. Consumers can also use NFC for instant coupons and specials not otherwise advertised.
AUTOMOTIVE NFC AND SMART CAR ACCESS
NFC has gained a lot of ground in the automotive industry. Fleet management, car sharing, WIFI and Bluetooth pairing, and a high demand for personalization inside the vehicle are among the top draws at CES 2015. Automotive NFC use enables drivers to start cars with smart phones and NFC charging stations inside the vehicle that require no plugs or cords are sure to make a huge impact on how auto makers manufacture new cars. NFC can also connect keys to cars and cars to portable devices. Radio/Audio applications will provide consumers with a personalized music experience and communication advances that go way beyond hands-free usage
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was the biggest that we have ever seen for NFC use cases. NFC in general, and particularly in the wearable space, has made major advances since last year and if this year’s show is any indication, the growth of these technologies is just beginning. I think we will see many more consumer applications develop through the year and be showcased at next year’s CES.
Next week tune in for what we are seeing at the NRF show. I am guessing we are going to be seeing a lot of NFC stuff at that show. All in all, it is already shaping up to be a great year for NFC.
About the Author:
Robert P. Sabella has 20+ years of legal and entrepreneurial experience and is considered one of the most innovative leaders in developing and bringing new technologies to market. He is the founder of the NFC Bootcamp™ training series and has recently co-founded the AccelerateNFC incubator program, dedicated to fostering start-ups in bringing NFC technology to the market. He is co-author of RFID+™ and a prolific writer and speaker on NFC and RFID.