Convenience. Better security. Energy savings. Healthcare and fitness tracking. The internet of things is already providing these benefits to those who have invested in wearables, connected security systems, thermostats, lighting and a growing number of commercial applications. According to Juniper Research, over 38 billion connected devices will be in use three years from now.
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From these early adopters and initial applications, where do we go next?
Challenges to wide-scale adoption still need to be solved. For example, how do you enable a device with no user interface? Without an interface, connected objects have no way of knowing a user’s intent. Another concern is security on an open network. But the biggest challenge of all is bringing IoT to all the unpowered objects that lack an internet connection.
This last challenge is particularly difficult in the smart home. A good overview of the situation is offered in the “Simplifying IoT: Connecting, Commissioning and Controlling with NFC; NFC Makes the Smart Home a Reality” white paper. The white paper outlines how Near Field Communication or NFC will benefit smart home devices and provides five pages of real-world use cases for NFC and IoT devices.
I believe NFC provides four key capabilities that will move IoT to wide-scale adoption.
- The ability to connect the unconnected: NFC solves the challenge of unpowered objects lacking network access. Embedded NFC tags in these unpowered objects allow intelligence to be added anywhere. Tap an NFC-enabled device to open a URL and deliver content to improve the user’s experience.
- User control with expressed intent: NFC offers the simplest, most intuitive way to indicate a user’s interest to take an action. NFC puts users in control of IoT by enabling connections on their terms and how they choose.
- Easy network access and data sharing: NFC makes connecting devices easy and intuitive. No lengthy hand shaking or data entry required. Tap your NFC-enabled device and you’re connected and can take advantage of IoT.
- Data security at multiple levels: Hackers can compromise an open network. NFC solves this problem for IoT users with features that limit eavesdropping and easy-to-deploy options for additional protections to match each use case.
Near Field Communication has the features and functionality to be a key enabler of IoT devices and foster wide-scale adoption. It can bring IoT to unpowered objects with its ability to connect the unconnected. In addition, NFC can put IoT devices under a user’s control, is easy-to-use with its “tap-and-go” functionality and provides a number of security options.
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