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Be an automation-ninja with NFC stickers & Android smartphone!

by on October 6, 2016
 

Recently, I was browsing Amazon just to pick up some stuff from their lighting deals, and I came across this – NFC House Ntag203 NFC Tag Sticker 30 mm Round (Set of 10). I am fascinated by NFC tech and it’s sad that it hasn’t picked up in India yet. So, a bunch of NFC stickers with an excellent rating for ~₹ 420/10 pieces closed the deal for me. At the time of ordering this, it was the cheapest option when compared to other e-commerce sites.

Wait! You might be thinking what this NFC is and why did this guy bought 10 stickers for a cost upward of 400 bucks. 

What is NFC?

Quoting from GSMArena:

NFC is a short-range high-frequency wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 cm distance. NFC is an upgrade of the existing proximity card standard (RFID) that combines the interface of a smartcard and a reader into a single device.

how-nfc-works

NFC architecture

It allows users to share content between digital devices seamlessly, pays bills wirelessly or even uses their cell phone as an electronic travelling ticket on existing contactless infrastructure already in use for public transportation.

The significant advantage of NFC over Bluetooth is the shorter set-up time. Instead of performing manual configurations to identify Bluetooth devices, the connection between two NFC devices is established at once (under a 1/10 second).

Due to its shorter range, NFC provides a higher degree of security than Bluetooth and makes NFC suitable for crowded areas where correlating a signal with its transmitting physical device (and by extension, its user) might otherwise prove impossible.

Here is a nice video explaining how you use NFC tech in your day to day life without much thinking about it:

Sounds cool eh?

What can I do with it?

Well, for starters, you’ll need these 3 apps: Tasker, AutoInput, and Trigger. Download and install them and you will be all set to be an NFC Pro below.

#1. At home

At home.

At home.

  • You can stick an NFC tag near your entrance door and let it do things, such as enabling your Wi-Fi, turning off Bluetooth and turning up the ringer volume. With the right app (Trigger, for example) you can program the tag to switch back the settings once you tap your phone on the tag a second time – disabling Wi-Fi, turning on Bluetooth, etc. It’s convenient and feels pretty badass.
  • You can stick an NFC tag on your router or wall to quickly connect to your WLAN. It’s kind of cool when you have a couple of friends around, and you don’t want to dictate or type in your password for them to connect to the WiFi.
  • You can have one sticker on your bedside table or wall which you can quickly use to set your alarm, enable do-not-disturb mode, enable blue light filter app, decrease the brightness, etc. You can also stick this NFC tag on your wireless charger so, at the end of the day, when you drop your phone on the charger before sleeping, it will automatically do all of the above for you.
  • You can use NFC tags to make sure you wake on every day on time. Just download this great ad-free app NFC Alarm Ultra and set it up in such a way that when the alarm goes off it can only be dismissed by the Tag that created it, so stick the tag at some place that would surely have you get up from bed like bathroom or kitchen.
  • You can invest in a Wemo switch and automate/control your home appliances/lights with an NFC tag. Here’s an excellent XDA video for same.
  • You can use NFC to unlock your front door or well, any door. You will need a smart lock. Lockitron is one of the smart locks that can be unlocked if you have an NFC-enabled Android device with you. You just attach the included NFC sticker to your door and use it to send a toggle command to Lockitron.

#2. At work

At work.

At work.

  • You can have a work-mode NFC tag on your desk to quickly switch between GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth, Ringer volume, Notification volume with a tap.
  • You can set up a tag for productivity burst to lock/zone out your phone for a particular set of a time interval (15/30 minutes) so you can concentrate on a task and finish it without compulsively checking those Whatsapp and Facebook notifications. Use Flipd app on your Android and configure your NFC tag to launch the activity.
  • You can also have a smart “contact me” NFC tag near your Cisco IP phone where any of your colleagues can tap to call you on your personal/work mobile number in case you are not present in your cubicle.
  • You can get NFC-enabled business cards so one can simply save all your contact details on their smartphones with a tap. You can use services of 1card or Printvenue to get your next coolest business card.

#3. In your car

In your car.

In your car.

  • You can stick a tag on your dashboard to quickly do a series of steps like:
    • Switch on the Bluetooth.
    • Pair to your car’s audio system.
    • Launch Spotify/Apple music playlist and start playing.
    • Switch off the Wifi.
    • Switch on the GPS.
    • Set screen timeout to 5 minutes.
    • Disable the lock screen for easy access.
    • Open Google Maps.
  • You can use “Trigger” app to configure the tag to reverse the steps above on the second tap.
  • You can also stick a tag near your Odometer to log trip’s distance automatically and keep track over your fuel efficiency and budget over the month.

Futuristic? Yes. Cool? HELL YEAH! 😎

#4. On your laptop

On your laptop.

On your laptop.

  • You can stick a tag on your notebook to quickly switch on a wireless hotspot on your LTE-enabled smartphone to surf data via Wifi tethering on your laptop.
  • You can also set an NFC tag to start an FTP server on your phone so as to easily access the data using your laptop.
  • You can set up an NFC tag to use your phone as a key to unlock your PC. It’s a bit advanced level, but if you like to do the custom stuff, here’s how to do it! Here’s another way.

#5. At gym

At gym

At gym

  • Stick a tag on your gym bag to pair your phone to your fitness wireless earbuds quickly and start your workout playlist.
  • You can also have a tag on your wristband to quickly log an exercise and the reps in your favourite fitness app to keep track of them burnt calories.
  • You can also switch to aeroplane mode with a tap so as to ensure minimal distractions.

#6. Own a business?

Own a business?!

Own a business?!

  • Use NFC tags to the place to allow customers to:
    • Check your website.
    • Get directions.
    • Get the indoor map of the premises.
    • Check the menu.
    • Do the check-ins.
    • Leave a feedback/review.
    • Easy distribution of discount coupons/offers.
  • Use NFC-based terminals to allow cashless payments via Android pay, Samsung pay etc.
  • You can get NFC-enabled business cards so one can simply save all your contact details on their smartphones with a tap. You can use services of 1card or Printvenue to get your next coolest business card.

#7. Implants?!

Implants.

Implants.

#8. Misc.

Misc.

Misc.

  • You can use an NFC tag on your pet’s collar with your contact details in case it gets lost so one can directly contact you by tapping their smartphone on the collar.
  • You can use NFC tags as a communication medium to pass on secret messages to a friend. It can be pretty fun as NFC tags are rewritable.
  • <Will add more as the time progresses>

Phew! Quite a list eh? The point was to compile all you can do with NFC and Android smartphone till date. 

Have any interesting use/setup you use? Share in the comments below, and I will add it to the article. Cheers! 😎

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