Beyond Smart

What do you have in your smart phone today – contacts, appointments, photos, music, videos, notes, games, apps, and personal information.

How much personal information would you keep in your phone?

Would you store your bank balance, food allergies, medication, and other confidential information?

A few days ago, my friend KK introduced the NFC (near field communication) feature on my new phone. This 3-letter acronym is based on the 4-letter acronym RFID technology and can be used for contactless payment here.

It’s so (what’s the cool word for ‘Cool’ these days?)!

Anyway, one thing led to another. KK went on to demonstrate the use of NFC with an app to read an EZ link card. Within seconds, the details of each transaction amount and place that the trip was taken on the train or bus were displayed on the phone.

That’s great! We are finally doing away with the fat wallet and getting rid of all our cards, notes and coins. This must be as phenomenal as when ancient people stopped using stones and shells for money.

But NFC is not just for payments. It can be used for access cards, airline boarding passes, marketing tools, and any data exchange by simply tapping your phone on an NFC tag. No more signing in, passwords, signatures, and other forms of verification. Just tap and you’ll get what you want.

With more applications coming, there is one I would like to see being deployed – an NFC app that can scan products that will match our budgets, diet requirements, health needs or recreational preferences?

All we have to do is store our personal data in our phones or in a cloud somewhere. Whenever we see something that we want to buy, we tap the phone on the packaging and the information will be displayed. That will save a lot of time trying to read and understand the tiny prints on labels.

For example, if someone is suffering from sulphite allergy which is really problematic because many types of food, drinks and even medicines contain some degree of sulphite as preservative. Imagine how handy it will be if NFC can pick out the food to avoid and the safe food to consume.

NFC technology is not new. After several false starts, NFC is now ready to serve the world because of the mature technologies of smart phones, the spread of social networking, adoption of interactive marketing and the developed mobile eco-systems.

Today, the phone is more than just a phone. It’s smarter than just making calls and providing entertainment on a handheld screen. It’s an intelligent device that’s become so dependable and inseparable that it is frightening to think it could also take away the owner’s identity.

Every convenience comes with a compromise. The more we want our devices to work for us, the more we give ourselves to the device. Let’s see where NFC takes us in the future or rather let’s see where we take NFC in the future.



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