a living room showing possible home automation applications with nfc tag

Here’s a scenario.

You are at the store and ready to pay the bill. A short wave of your hand and you are done. With just a single movement you’ve replaced series of tasks.

Interacting contactless with technology has come a long way. Paying is just one application of those close proximity technologies.

And there are thousand others.

The relatively new NFC is here to expand them, and reduce routine home tasks to a minimum.

Devices like the NFC enabled smartwatches are becoming a convenient tool for controlling things around you.

Follow us and see some cool ways to use this tech inside your home.

What is NFC and how do I use it?

At the heart of NFC is the familiar RFID. A tech utilizing radio signals to read and write data on labels over the air.

NFC devices are able to simultaneously receive and transmit data, thus monitoring the radio frequency field and detecting inconsistencies in the signal.

Among the main features and advantages of NFC are:

  • Work in a passive mode without user intervention;
  • Short connection setup time (even compared to Bluetooth);
  • A small radius of action (less than 20 cm);
  • Compatibility with existing RFID system;
  • The ability to work with devices that are not equipped with power supply.

Readers and tags – the NFC devices

In order to actively use a technology you need devices that supports it. Although young, NFC has been integrated on quite few of them.

Obviously the main users here are the smartphones and the NFC enabled smartwatches.

People use them for payment or as pass cards, to read tags or communicate and exchange common information between each one of them. The latter function was not adopted because of the slow speed of transfer. Pairing phones together to exchange links takes more time rather than a simple messenger program.

Occasionally there are other devices equipped with NFC. Most of them use the technology to bootstrap fast communication – devices are paired and reconnected to a faster communication protocol, NFC is used only for initial communication).

This list includes media players, smart home appliances, computer peripherals (printers and routers).

Another popular use comes in the form of small transponders called tags. They have chip inside, similar to RFID-tag.

These small programmable units are able to give information to the smartphone or smartwatch, run certain applications form trusted devices and even run a whole sequence of actions, serving as a kind of trigger for running a macro stored somewhere on your mobile phone.

Lest see some of these scenarios.

Home application

Everyday home tasks are the prefect NFC use case for making your life easier.

Perhaps some of them may interest you.

Home network shared access

Imagine your home router with a built-in 1 TB drive and an additional USB storage. Under the the hood – NFC tag.

The transponder grands a guest password for your home WiFi network, giving access to read the shared folders form your internal storage device. There, you have archives of family photos, useful documents and educational materials for your guests to see.

In the bedroom

Here everything is incredibly simple: the tag lies on the bedside table. You move the smartphone closer – TV goes off, the sound goes off, wireless is off, alarm is set; the lamp dimes slowly.

It is morning your alarm is ringing on your hand and it would not go off until you get up and mark the tag with your watch. Your coffee machine starts making a nice tasty espresso. Do hear the morning news from the kitchen?

At work

At your work place a bunch of NFC tags are sitting on your desk, each corresponds to a certain trigger, and wait for your order.

Your slide the phone close to one of therm:

The phone connects with the WiFi and start the process; update my programs and synchronize my cloud services; archive my new photos and upload to my home NAS.

You push you phone with your pinkie it goes closer to the second one – the 3D printer starts producing today’s tasks; you here a music in the background – its Mozart.

TV automation

In the arm of your sofa hides a tag that turns the smartphone into vibration mode and runs your TV. You see Netflix on the screen with newest true-crime series.

You move your watch close to the next tag – it changes the channel and turns on the Steam Box, it sends a message to your friends on Steam, and starts CS.

In the kitchen

The kitchen you have two zones. Here, the layout is more complicated than in the bedroom.

On the refrigerator at the entrance a tag runs a wireless speaker and turns on you oven at high for preheating.

Another one is hidden next to the kitchen table. It dims the light and tuns one your favorite music.

Dinners ready.

Misc stuff

You can use tags to orders consumables through on-line shopping.

Another useful idea is to place tags at certain locations and when you “press” them, add stuff to a to-do list. You can use it at the groceries sore or just order the whole list on-line.

There are hundreds of ideas. Just place the tags at logical places.

The change

Although some of our triggers scenarios can hardly be considered practical, they are good illustration of the capability of NFC to help automate mundane tasks.

The use of tags can be much wider, because the it can “make” the smartphone perform any action.

They eliminate endless input of passwords, long pairing operations, and running a thousand apps. They allows you to run series of tasks, which usually take several minutes and a lot of clicks.

The technologies is here to stay, and it definitely saves time and makes your life much easier.

Try it!


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