Getting started with NFC on the phone and in the home

Samsung NFC tags

When you mention NFC to someone, they either think of the National Football Conference in the U.S. or a method of wireless payments. But near-field communications (NFC) technology is actually neither: It’s a way of wirelessly transmitting data. That data could be for a mobile payment or, like I demonstrated earlier this month, it could be used to transmit contact information from an NFC-enabled business card.

Since I own two Android smartphones with NFC chips — the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note 2 — I’m interested to see what else I can do with NFC. So I bought five NFC stickers and set out to learn. Turns out these little tags are already coming in handy: I’m using them to change my phone settings when I leave home and when I return.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIG4PvMAXmU]

Unfortunately, the NFC tags and software I started to use seem limited to Samsung phones and there appear to various tag standards. I’ve already found a new free Android app and other tags for a more universal solution. NFC Task Launcher, for example, works on the Nexus 4 smartphone built by LG. The developer also sells NFC tags in several different shapes, sizes and even for both indoor and outdoor use. And the supporting application offers more control options as well.

For now, I’m just experimenting but I’m thinking that with several NFC tags around the house, I can eventually tie into my home automation system and much more with this low-cost wireless tech.

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