Embedded in everything from clothing, to wristbands, to watches, NFC could very well become that hot new fashion accessory next season. NFC is moving fast and furiously toward becoming an integrated part of our everyday lives, a "wearable" habit that can support and enhance our current activities on the go. It is helping people communicate and connect their offline activities to online information.
NFC tags are being incorporated into items in many ways, whether being directly attached (like with golf clubs) or embedded within them (such as with a 3D printed item). Take the company Flomio, for example. The Miami-based startup brought us Flojack, an NFC-enabled reader and writer, which gave iOS users NFC when Apple didn't. Many say this has helped the company lead the charge for NFC connectivity with new activity-driven innovations. The company recently brought a new application to market, NFC 3D Printables, a new process which embeds the tag into an object. This can be produced froma standard .stl 3D file.
This is a crazy exciting new approach to NFC since NFC is all about connecting the online to the offline; the cloud to inanimate objects. Putting the NFC tag right in the objects themselves looks to be a much better way to accomplish thisobjective.
Perhaps no place is this happening with greater abundance than in the world of sports. For example, Active Mind Technology launched Game Golf, which attaches NFC tags to clubs that are synced to a device which uses GPS, motion sensors, and Bluetooth with NFC. This helps to record the golfers' performance and progress on the course and share it with friends.
Flomio has also ventured into the world of sports and is working with the NFC innovator Capify, to introduce NFC baseball caps. Imagine what fans, teams, and stadium operators could all do with such innovative hats. This presents the ability to use NFC technology for check-ins, ticketing, and wallet activities, extending offerings through the use of wristbands and bracelets. Tags can be attached to employee uniforms for purposes of inventory or for instructional message delivery. Here is an idea: How about the idea of using these hatson class trips to keep track of students?
Hospitals are using wristbands and bracelets for identification services, as well as for infant safety measures. In all, identification services are a great example of how wearable NFC can be used. RFID n' Print, which provides identification services with both RF and NFC technology, is a company that has perfected a process that allows it to both customize and personalize wristbands and bracelets. This includes logos and anti-theft detection, all designed to be cost effective for providing entrance options for companies in theme parks, festivals, and other events. The company has been experiencing enormous growth in the area of NFC, providing devices for many of these activities across North America, South America, Europe, and the UAE. Recent examples of such activities include the Electric Zoo Festival and a lobster roll held by the daily-email-for-foodies company Tasting Table in New York.
And, let's not forget about Disney's new vacation-management system called MyMagic+. It is the NFC way for visitors to do just about everything at Disney World. This initiative is designed to enhance guest engagement and make navigating Disney a more seamless experience. Costs for the project have been estimated to range between $800 millionand $1 billion.
Wristbands and bracelets aren't just being using for enhancing parks and events either. The Gap recently hosted an NFC–based marketing campaign with SmartSense in Tokyo in which shoppers at two flagship stores could use bracelets to participate in an in-store contest conducted by associates that allowed them to "favorite" outfits and share likes.
I can envision a world in which people find it, like it, and share it all using NFC simply because it's so simple to do. It's a great thing to be hands free and connect to someone or some service in order to get the information you need when you need it. No need for a wallet or purse when you can check in, tap in, and pay with bracelets and wristbands or even your watch.
And here is one more example: The Payter watch. Developed by LAKS, it has been described as "the first watch that can be used for contactless payments, identification, and many other contactless solutions." And of course rumor has it Apple is working on a NFC-enabled watch, too.
All of these personal and mobile activities are making media, information, activity, and connectivity portable, leading to more connected environments and lives.
In all, we are now able to wear it, share it, and pair it, all with the use of NFC. This all ultimately leads me to the question: How will you get your NFC on these days?