NFC is gradually becoming a part of everyday life for most people. People use NFC for in store payments, to travel, at various events, to gain access to buildings and so much more. One interesting area that NFC will almost certainly be utilised in the near future is in restaurants.
Already, large companies are looking to invest this in this dynamic technology. A Dutch restaurant began offering an NFC ordering system in 2013 and in that same year McDonald’s launched an NFC campaign in Singapore using tags to create games for children at the table.
There are a number of key areas where NFC can be deployed which we have summarised below.
We are all used to traditional paper menus in restaurants, and there is not much wrong with them from a customer’s point of view. A menu, after all, is a just a menu. That being said there are one or two issues with standard menus from the restaurant owners point of view.
Restaurants may want to change their dishes, offer new options, or update information on their menus. This is ok if the restaurant wants to change a lot of the information in one go as they will simply print new menus, however if there are only one or two changes it would not make sense to reprint all of the menus to accommodate a few updates.
Using NFC the restaurant can create dynamic menus, viewed on a smart device and linked to the cloud, that can be continually be updated as and when needed. It means that restaurants can offer customers varied options and greater ranges- enhancing customer experience and choice. They can also offer updated special offers, varying as much or as little as they would like.
And finally, using a dynamic menu always for easy filtering and searching of particular dishes. For people who are intolerant or allergic to certain food items or perhaps cannot eat meat, this is a far more preferable than hunting for little icons on the menu!
An obvious benefit of using NFC in restaurants is to streamline ordering and paying for meals. When a restaurant is particularly busy it can take a while for staff to get around to serving your table. Likewise, once you have finished eating, you may want to leave quickly and waiting for the bill can take a while. There is not a lot a restaurant can do about this- if the restaurant is busy people will need to wait until somebody is available! Nevertheless people are impatient and NFC can help with efficiency in these areas, particularly in peak times.
Using an app customers can use their phones, or indeed tablets provided by the restaurant, to scan an NFC tag at their table and place their order through the app. Once the customers have finished with their meal they can scan the tag at the table again and pay immediately. It is quick, convenient and adds to the overall customer experience.
This concept, however, can go well beyond offering people an alternative method of ordering and paying; it gives customers more control over the experience they want to have at the restaurant. There is also a clear incentive for regular customers to download the restaurants app on to their smart phones and tablets. Once a customer does this there is the potential for further promotional benefits.
Promotions and loyalty schemes are fantastic ways of enticing customers to eat at a restaurant.
Receiving an email saying you can eat at that restaurant you love for 20% less is a guaranteed way of getting customers through the door. A big problem with these promotions, however, is that they will not reach everybody. Emails can be ignored or missed, people may not necessarily walk past the restaurant to see posters or be handed flyers and word of mouth may not be quick enough for time limited promotions. If a customer has the restaurants app, however, they would receive direct notifications to their phone.
Loyalty schemes are another tool restaurants use to entice people to visiting regularly. The app could automatically apply the loyalty points at each visit, meaning the client does not have to worry about forgetting to provide their loyalty card after each meal.
Clearly there is a lot of potential for NFC to be implemented in restaurants, benefiting both restaurateurs and customers alike. As we’ve already mentioned, right now large industry players are looking to trial NFC in their restaurants before rolling it out. We believe that, as the consumer market and general use of NFC continues to grow, it will not be too long before NFC becomes more and more apparent in the restaurant industry.
As many of our readers will be aware, last October the NFC Forum confirmed the addition of the 'NFC Forum Type 5 Tag Operation Technical Specification'. Which, in short, means that in the future we can expect most NFC readers to be able to communicate with NXP's ICODE SLIX tags. Probably.
Let's look at a few things. First, what is the ICODE SLIX NFC tag and second, what support for this tag can we really expect and third, what is RapidNFC's position.
So, the tags RapidNFC currently sell and the almost complete majority of all NFC chips used with NFC Tags and mobile phones use a communication standard defined under ISO/IEC 14443. This includes chips such as the NTAG213, the MIFARE Ultralight and the MIFARE Classic. The new specification allows for the support of tags which operate under an alternative standard - ISO/IEC 15693. While there are other chips that use this standard, such as the HID's ICLASS, when it comes to mobile phone NFC use cases, we are really talking about one particular chip group - NXP's ICODE SLIX.
Both the current NTAG/Ultralight type chips and the ICODE SLIX chips are very similar of course. They both work in the High Frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz frequency range, have similar memory capacities and similar features. Both can store data, such as a web address, in NDEF format. However, the principle behind them was always intended to be slightly different. ISO/IEC 14443 was designed to operate at high speed but require higher power. The result of which, simply, is a chip that has a relatively low ScanStrength (typically 10cm maximum), can transfer data quickly but can also do other things – such as encryption. ISO/IEC 15693 on the other hand, was designed to operate slower but with less power requirement. Which, simply, means that it's theoretical scan distances are much higher – up to 1m. Because of this increased scan distance, ISO/IEC 15693 is usually referred to as a 'vicinity' standard rather than the more typical ISO/IEC 14443 description of a 'near field' standard. Again, let's be clear, these are theoretical ScanStrength differences and the reality is that, with a mobile phone, it's nothing like that significant. Additionally, when we say that the data transfer speeds are 'slower', they are, but not to an extent that in most typical NFC use cases – say transfer of a URL/web address to a mobile phone – you'd really notice any difference.
So why would you choose the ICODE SLIX over, say, an NTAG213 chip. Perhaps two significant benefits :
First is data retention. The NTAG213 is specified to hold data for 10 years. That's quite a long time of course but in some cases, say the verification of a car number plate, 10 years might start to look a bit thin. The data retention spec on the ICODE SLIX is 50 years.
Second is ScanStrength. We know we've just said that, with mobile phones, it's not all it's made out to be but it _is_ better. And significantly, the tags can be smaller. We'd argue that for most mobile phone use cases with an NTAG213 chip and a standard etched antenna (not a copper coil), you wouldn't want to go much smaller than 15mm x 15mm. You can, but the user experience fades rapidly. Not so with the ICODE SLIX and we've seen perfectly usable tags down to 10mm x 10mm.
Currently, it's very patchy. Some phones do support it and some phones don't. A lot depends on the NFC controller chip inside the phone and the software stack behind it. Compared to the NTAG213 which is fully compatible with all NFC enabled phones (current iPhone excepted), it doesn't look good.
Is this going to change ? Well it's possible but it will take time. You have to consider both the adoption of the mobile manufacturers to the new standards and then the upgrade cycle of the phones to get them into the market. In short, it's not going to be universally or probably even widely accepted in the near future.
We like it. It's a huge chip already with billions having been deployed. We certainly like the idea of smaller tags and increased ScanStrength. Price is generally good as well.
However, our opinion on the use of the ICODE SLIX right now and for the foreseeable future, is that it's certainly not a chip that you would want to use in any broad based, open applications such as marketing. There isn't the mobile phone support for it and NFC has a tough enough time in those environments as it is without making things harder. For most other applications the current chips such as MIFARE Ultralight and NTAG213 work just as well. However, in some applications, such as long term asset tagging or where absolute smallest size is required, we think it will have a number of benefits in the future.
Our current status is that we don't currently stock the chip in any of our tags. We plan to start stocking a limited number of products in late Spring 2016 and will discuss with clients about the requirements. It's worth noting that the availability of products and the likely lead times are going to higher with the ICODE SLIX than our current NFC chips. We would currently consider it a specialist chip for specialist applications in the vast majority of areas we work in, but there's little question is a worthy addition to the NFC Forum family.
RapidNFC launched just as the very first NFC enabled mobile phones were released. We've seen fascinating and tremendous growth across a whole range of markets including health care, asset management, events, product authentication, gaming and many more.
While varied, the main growth markets have tended to concentrate on 'closed loop' use cases. Typically, these are areas where the company or implementer will know, or can specify, which phone is being used. For example, in security guard or healthcare 'round' management, the guard or carer can be provided or advised which phone to use – typically Android of course. With product authentication, another rapid growth market, the reader will typically be known, built in and/or provided.
Conversely, 'open' mobile use cases, such as marketing, have lagged behind. There's a number of smaller reasons for this but two significant items. Firstly, the lack of NFC Tag scanning support in the Apple iPhone. Without full coverage across all mobiles, many brands are not keen on running large scale campaigns when they know a certain percentage of the market just isn't going to be able to interact. There's also still a lack of consumer awareness. While many consumers are using NFC every day in travel or contactless payments, there's still a disconnect with the underlying technology itself and many brands aren't keen to be the ones to do the educating.
And that's why L'Oréal's new electronic UV skin patch monitor could be a genuine game changer. Launched this year at CES in Las Vegas, L'Oréal's My UV Patch is a stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure. The patch has a built in NFC chip and antenna which can be scanned with an Android phone and L'Oréal's My UV Patch mobile app.
It's an interesting and innovative use case. Now, we've seen tags like this before and have indeed supplied temperature monitoring NFC tags already. The difference here is that this is firmly a consumer based product. With NFC, this patch is a perfect combination of technology, personal healthcare and usability. A very sweet spot to be in. It's an ideal example of why NFC Tag scanning deserves to, and will, join NFC payments as an essential consumer technology.
And L'Oréal might just have become the game changer.
It is that time of year again and we, at RapidNFC, have recently been involved in a particularly festive and fun project. Tech company Aptriva, using RapidNFC hardware, provided children visiting Santa's Grotto in Blarney Woollen Mills (County Cork, Ireland) with an unforgettable and magical Christmas experience.
Aptriva have created a complete system for their client that enables each child to have a completely unique and personalised experience with Santa using RapidNFC's wristbands.
When booking, parents provide a variety of talking points for Santa and their child. These topics range from the child's hobbies, their favourite music, their favourite football teams, how well behaved they have been at school, their favourite (or least favourite) teachers, their best friends names and specific incidents of the child being 'naughty' or 'nice' throughout the year. Each child is then given an NFC enabled wristband. These wristbands are pre-encoded with the talking points.
At the entrance to Santa's Grotto the children 'wake up Santa' using 'magical props' (a.k.a discretely positioned NFC readers). Once the wristbands are scanned with the magical props Santa's high-tech naughty or nice book is automatically updated pre-visit. As the child enters the Grotto, Santa has all the information he needs for an in-depth conversation with the child about all their favourite things and past years experiences.
The children love the whole experience and are utterly amazed that Santa has paid them so much attention this year. The NFC based system designed by Aptrivia gives each child who attends the Grotto a very personal encounter with Santa and they all leave with some unforgettable memories. We have a feeling that, given how useful Santa must have found the additional information on each child, similar events will be just as successful year on year.
A growing trend in the world of NFC is the use and application of the technology within the fashion industry. Being at the forefront of NFC initiatives, RapidNFC has been involved in quite a number of these initial projects. We have noticed NFC being used primarily in three ways within the fashion industry: for payments, authentication and heritage and personalisation.
Contactless payments using NFC, whether this be your bank card, phone or watch, is becoming a big trend in the NFC world. More platforms, banks and retailers are embracing contactless payments. The natural development of this is to increase the accessibility of contactless payments methods. One way to do this is to add to the range of wearable devices (i.e. watches, keyfobs, wristbands and clothing) from which to make a payment. A recent article stated that half of UK shoppers believe that wearable payment devices will be commonplace within five year' times.
At this year's London Fashion Week designer Henry Holland, in collaboration with VISA Europe, weaved an NFC antenna and chip that was capable of making payments in to clothing. Holland also provided VIP guests an NFC enabled ring allowing them to buy direct from the catwalk. Samsung are also following the trend with the creation of an NFC "smart suit".
People will pay a lot of money for high-end, luxury and designer goods. With this outlay there is an expectation that the product they have paid for is authentic and genuine, not one of many fakes available on the market. NFC can provide a simple but effective authentication system.
Every NFC chip comes with a unique hexadecimal identifier; a UID for short. This UID is encoded on to every NFC tag at the point of manufacturing and cannot be altered in any way. As the name would suggest no two are the same. By linking data encoded on the tag, i.e. a URL or app link, with the chips unique hexadecimal number you can create a basic authentication system. The encoded data can be duplicated, however if the UID is incorrect a system can be created to state that the product is not authentic.
Using the UID of the tag provides a basic level of authentication, however for companies and retailers who are serious about using NFC to authenticate products there are more sophisticated options such as encryption tags and specialist chips.
The third use of NFC in fashion is less to do with the practicality of payments and authentication and more to do with adding to the products history and/or making the product personal to the consumer.
In collaboration with Microsoft and ad agency FCB Inferno we recently worked on a project with a company called Sequence. Sequence aims to help at-risk individuals in countries with high levels of violent crime, such as El Salvador, by providing employment creating hand crafted wristbands. This collaboration created range of NFC enabled wristbands. The tags were encoded to load a URL showing how the product was made. This provides the consumer with a brief history of where their product originates and the cause they are helping to support.
Heritage and personalisation is something we have discussed before in a previous blog about Italian shoe company Rocco. P. Their products, to this day, remain hand made in the small Italian town of Torre San Patrizio. The company, proud of its heritage and tradition, uses NFC as a way of passing this on to their customers. Rocco. P also use NFC as a method of authenticating their products; combining both the practical and personalisation purposes of using NFC in clothing and wearables.
The use of NFC within the fashion industry for multiple purposes is relatively new and something that can really add value to a product. It is inevitable that new NFC enabled wearable devices, particularly for payment purposes, will soon be commonplace. It seems only natural that the fashion industry is beginning to embrace NFC and integrating it in to designs and products.
We have noted a relatively new and growing concept of connected fitness, where the devices people use and platforms they access can be integrated to create a complete digital picture of your health. Not only does this allow users to have an easily accessible summary of their state but it can also let them identify issues and improvements to be made, which normally wouldn’t be so easy to identify.
Companies are starting to bring out their own platforms that can link into their devices and provide this information, Google Fit and Apple Health being two well-developed, stand-out services. But how do these platforms acquire their data to analyse and summarise a user's health? Typically it will be through the user's smartphone sensors which can provide a wealth of data about movement and typical daily patterns. Wearables can give even more information including heart rate to provide an even more accurate picture.
However, while these connected devices and ecosystems play a large role in this digital health revolution, we are starting to see more and more projects utilising NFC tags to connect previously 'dumb' devices into this holistic health system.
The primary use of the NFC tags in this context is as a link to fitness platform. They can be applied to a range of fitness equipment (treadmills, cycling, elliptical trainers) and can be tapped to trigger the fitness platform on the users NFC phone. In some cases, the NFC tag can also pass on details of the equipment to the phone to begin entering details into the fitness platform.
The overall aim of this to make it easier for users to enter their workout information into the platform, encouraging them to integrate their daily routine with their own digital record and building up long term trends. Rather than manually entering all the data needed for a workout, which can be a turnoff and take up more time than the workout itself (!), they can simply swipe the NFC tag and enter the time spent on the equipment. The simplicity and ease with which this can be done makes it an easy action to start doing and it allows users to track long term health goals and commitments.
In addition to applying NFC tags to equipment, this premise can be flipped around, with users wearing NFC wearables. This can be used to track users for events where timings or locations are used for individual results. And once again, this would be tied into an online platform to keep these results safe, secure and easily accessible. RapidNFC often works with the Great Run Local, a national network who provide free running events all over the country.
The Great Run Local use NFC wristbands as a way of registering and linking runners with their online platform. Runners can scan their durable NFC wristbands at the end of their events to save their times and track their participation. This information is then saved and can be viewed on the Great Run Local's website.
This system is a great way of encouraging runner participation as they can easily see and compare all the runs they have taken part in. Being able to easily assess how you have improved over time is a great form of encouragement and allows runners to use just one site as a hub for their running activities.
The use of NFC in fitness is a new concept but one we are sure to see more of in the future as online health platforms become more and more prevalent; particularly given the number of mobile companies adding it to their software portfolio. The ease with which NFC can be adapted, whether it’s used to link static gym equipment with a digital fitness platform or in wearables to track user performance at events, means it can be integrated to all manner of concepts. This adaptability in the use of NFC suggests even more ways to utilise NFC are just around the corner.
Here at RapidNFC, we get involved with all sorts of NFC projects and ventures around the globe. Although most of the work we do with our clients is related to marketing and asset tagging, we also provide NFC products for more novel platforms and, recently, we supplied tags to be used in a gaming platform.
NFC, as a technology, is not normally associated with gaming but, in fact, Nintendo launched a whole range of NFC figurines just the other year. These 'Amiibos' can interact with compatible hardware like the Wii U and trigger a number of different actions like adding a new character or unlocking a level. The response to these figurines has been very positive with pre-orders crashing certain websites and older models rising in value well past their original price.
This phenomenon has seen further interest in using NFC in gaming with a number of companies investigating its usage, including the use case we describe below in this article.
NFC is great for gaming for a number of reasons. Firstly, an NFC tag is both uniquely identifiable and can hold a small amount of information. This means it can be used to trigger a certain action, link to further information or be used as an ID for a player character. Unlike some other ways of holding information or identification, an NFC tag is small, cost-effective and the low scan distance means that multiple NFC tags won’t interfere with each other.
The fact that it is contactless technology is also a great bonus. Players are always looking for new, fresh technology and the ‘futuristic’ aspect of NFC really means it can inspire and encourage new players to get involved. The rise of NFC devices also means that the use of NFC in gaming is becoming more and more accessible, with more and more people being able to take advantage of this contactless technology.
A little while ago, we provided tags to Conducttr, a transmedia storytelling platform, who have worked on a number of ground-breaking gaming experiences. For their latest conference Conducttr created an educational and interactive experience - 'Sherlock Holmes & The Internet Of Things'. This game involved strategy, team collaboration and NFC tags, all revolving around a murder mystery.
This experience started off with background information about the characters, location and setting before delving into the unsolved murder of a chemist. Conference attendees could use an NFC device and the Conducttr app to scan NFC tags around the scene to pick up clues and hints. These clues and hints would change through the day to develop the story and help uncover the mystery.
This use of physical triggers with a digital platform helps to create an immersive and engaging story which inspires the players to work together and build a hypothesis. The game is certainly entertaining and provokes our curiosity, however it also has an educational angle by providing the users with fun facts on chemistry.
The experience was well-received and as the platform can be used as a template for any number of different experiences, we could see Conducttr being deployed across a range of different use cases soon.
We expect to see a rise in NFC usage in gaming going forward, particularly as more and more mobile devices released will have NFC. This rise, coupled with the massive expansion of mobile gaming, will allow the market to develop as more companies look to link their digital products with tangible, physical objects. The size and cost of NFC tags, along with the wide range of form factors they can come in means they are ideal for all sorts of integration.
NFC is a relatively new and developing technology with various areas of growth. One area in particular we have seen a substantial growth in over the past year is the healthcare sector. From April 2015 to September 2015 we have seen an incredible 164% rise in sales from the prior 6 months to both healthcare providers and companies who provide tags and software solutions to care providers. As this is such a considerable growth we have investigated how NFC is being implemented within the care industry and why it is becoming so popular.
RapidNFC's client QuikPlan provide software solutions utilising NFC in the home and domiciliary healthcare sector.
There are multiple benefits of using NFC rather than traditional paper based logging. The unfortunate reality is that paper based systems are open to abuse. There is no guarantee that the carer has spent as much time with the service user as is stated, or even that the carer was at the home at all. A traditional method of verifying visits is by landline confirmation. Landline confirmation is where a visit to a service user is verified by the carer phoning a free number and entering a pin. This is not really an efficient way to confirm visits and is still somewhat open to abuse. It is fairly easy for the carer to say that they did not log out because the service user was using the landline at the time and then to simply make up the time they left the home.
Nick Patrick of QuikPlan explained to RapidNFC how the software their company has developed over the years is providing care companies with an innovative ways verifying visits and authenticating the data provided.
QuikPlan uses NFC, opposed to QR codes and alternative technologies, for two primary reasons. The first is that, using the tags unique ID, they can link a universally specific tag to a service user and lock the data. This means that a tag that has been assigned to the service user cannot be duplicated and the data cannot be altered. The app sends the geo location of the tag once it has been scanned, so if the NFC tag is moved from outside of the service users home this is immediately logged. The tag authenticates the carers visit and is effectively tamper proof.
The second reason QuikPlan use NFC is for usability and performance. Nick explains that NFC, whilst also being more reliable and secure than alternative technologies, is very easy to use. Carers simply have to hold their mobile phone to the tag and tap clock in or clock out. Whilst the tag then performs multiple functions the majority of this is processed through the backend system; from the perspective of the carer they have simply held the phone to a sticker and can now get to work helping their service user. The performance is seamless and you do not have the alignment issues and duplication concerns you may have with QR codes.
Another benefit of this system is that everything is updated in real time, meaning checking in and checking out of visits and carer's notes are immediately updated. The information is instantly available saving on admin efforts and costs. The app also logs the time, date and location when the tag is scanned. If the phone has signal this is uploaded in real time, however as the app is a database in its own right the data is logged regardless and updated once the phone has signal. The app polls every 10 minutes. Whilst QuikPlan's software is suited ideally to domiciliary care there is no real reason why it cannot be adapted and used for both residential healthcare and supported living.
For further information on how the software works please click here.
With software such as QuikPlan's mobile app readily available and so extensive in its capabilities we are not surprised by the substantial annual increase in sales within the care sector. NFC is offering innovative ways of making life as easy as possible for carers with seamless clocking in and out, providing GPS mapping and directions to appointments. The software used is also providing care companies with pioneering ways to ensure that each service user is being visited for the correct amount of time and that these visits are authenticated. More than this the app is actually providing ways for care companies and providers to become more flexible and dynamic with the way in which the carers time is managed. With the database of information that is collected on both the carers and service users companies now have the tools to help provide the most effective and efficient care possible.
This is a use case of NFC that can genuinely make a difference to people's lives. It simplifies the entire process to ensure carers have the maximum amount of time to perform their duties whilst ensuring that the system is not being abused.
NFC’s march towards the mainstream continues through Apple and Android Pay, in fact soon you might see NFC tags pop up around your local supermarket. We have been in contact with various retailers in both the UK and Europe recently regarding the use of NFC throughout stores for both large and small scale projects. Through discussions we have developed an interesting picture of what the future potentially has in store for NFC use in Supermarkets and how NFC can be used to add value to customer experience. We have observed three major categories of interest: Store level tagging, Aisle level tagging and Product level tagging.
The use of NFC is an innovative way to aid a customer’s decision making, improving the overall shopping experience and getting customers to interact more with the products available and the brand in general.
Store level tagging encompasses bigger and more general store marketing campaigns. The two best examples of this are smart posters and in store promotions.
Smart posters are the ideal starting point for introducing NFC into stores. Smart posters are very easy to create as they only require a standard NFC enabled tag to be placed on top of, or behind, a standard poster. This makes it extremely cost effective to transform a standard poster into a “smart poster”. By adding an NFC chip to a standard poster a Supermarket can create an interactive marketing tool to engage with customers by:
- Offering vouchers and in-store Promotions
- Providing clients with important information
- Linking to online and social media content
- Linking to video content and advertisements
The same concept used for smart posters can also be applied to a variety of promotional products. For instance a supermarket can hand out leaflets or postcards and give away free promo goods (i.e. pens, fridge magnets etc.) each encoded with offers or links to online content. These are innovative and interactive ways to increase the effectiveness of any marketing campaign.
Aisle level tagging can be used for general group information. Aisle level tagging is somewhat similar to product level tagging, however it can be used to offer more generic advice and product comparisons. Aisle tagging would require less tags than product tagging so it could be used as a cheaper alternative.
Aisle level tagging is particularly useful for customers if they require generic advice about a product range. A good example of this is wine. A customer may want advice on what the best type of wine would be for a dinner party. By scanning the tag in the wine aisle they would be able to enter information about the food they are cooking and the app would advise what wine would pair well with such a meal. Whilst product level tagging is good for specific product details, aisle level tagging is useful for a customer who does not necessarily know what product they would like or need.
Product level tagging would be the most innovative and complex of the 3 categories. This would provide customers with an extensive range of information on every single product including: - Nutrition information - Product descriptions - Deals and offers - Ingredients - Information on the manufacturer of the product
Whilst product tagging may begin with basic information there is room for Supermarkets to expand in to more creative areas. For instance, based on the product you have scanned, the app could cross-sell alternative and complimentary products and even offer recipe and cooking advice for that particular product.
The use of NFC in supermarkets would be a great way to get customers to interact more with the store brand and the goods on offer. We expect more and more Supermarkets to begin with initially small campaigns trialling the use of tags in stores soon. It is also worth noting that this blog focuses solely on potential marketing benefits and customer interaction with the supermarkets brand from NFC use. There are also several ways NFC could be used “behind the scenes” in supermarkets; specifically for tracking and asset management purposes, and in fact the same NFC tags could be used by both employees and consumers !
Technology is created, primarily, to make our lives easier. There are, of course, other factors that drive creation of technology, but technology is fundamentally the application of a method into a procedure in order to make that process as efficient and practical as possible. In other words, technology contributes to automating a system to make tasks as effortless and quick as possible. We have recently provided US based Chexology with NFC tags to implement in to their automated storage and rental systems for use at the recent US Tennis Open and this got us thinking of the role NFC can, and does, play in automated systems.
So, what are benefits of having an automated system for storage and rentals?
First and foremost it is convenient. It is a 21st century solution for an age old problem. Let's face it, tickets can be hassle. They are easily misplaced, they are easily damaged and they seem to go missing at the exact moment you need it. If you have a system that enables you to check a coat into and out of an event without a ticket it simply makes life easier for you. No ticket, no hassle.
The system helps to create seamless check-ins without the use of tickets, yet still the system remains secure. Rather than having a paper ticket the system works through the individual's mobile phone number.
There are also benefits for those who implement the system in to their businesses. Whilst providing a more efficient checking-in system, something any attendee would undoubtedly appreciate; they are also able to engage with guests through on-site activations, targeted messaging, and social media campaigns- all at the touch of a finger!
For full details on how different aspects of how Chexology's automated system works please visit their website by clicking here. The system essentially works as follows:
- You are able to check in and retrieve items by simply providing your phone number
- This enables the check-in process to be completed quickly. In fact, the system has the capability to check in 95 items per hour, per attendant, and an average check out speed of just 22 seconds.
- The system provides peace of mind through visual identification and item tracking, providing fool-proof safeguards to theft and misplacements.
This type of automated system can be used for in various locations including airports, events, clubs, and festivals; essentially any situation you can think of where you would not like to be carrying belongings on your person for an extended period of time.
The system uses NFC tags, and specifically the unique ID of each tag, to assign that specific item to an individual through an NFC App. The global unique identifier makes NFC the perfect technology to use for both rental and coat checking systems as it essentially has a built-in authentication system. It means that the operator simply has to scan the tag and almost immediately this is assigned to an individual through the app. It is a smart and efficient way to check goods in and out.
The use of NFC in automated systems is one of the more practical uses of NFC. NFC seemingly fits perfectly in to such systems due to the nature of the technology itself, not least because of its usability and the chips globally unique identifier. We at RapidNFC expect to see more and more automated systems utilising the power of NFC to help to make things as efficient and effective as possible in the future.
New NFC products, comments, general views and other opinions about NFC tags, NFC phones and all things NFC !Tweets by @RapidNFC