Tag them: With smart tags, never lose your possessions

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ANAND PARTHASARATHY
Published Jun 13, 2016, 9:52 am IST
Updated Jun 13, 2016, 3:00 pm IST
Wireless technologies like NFC and Bluetooth launch a new era of worry-free living.
You can even locate your baggage on an airport conveynor belt using Bluetooth tags.
 You can even locate your baggage on an airport conveynor belt using Bluetooth tags.

Many of us have reached the age when a pair of spectacles mislaid or a wallet lost, can  seem like a larger crisis  than all the weighty matters discussed at 9 pm on TV. Time was, when we had to round up a posse of the unwilling near-and-dear and send them out in search parties to retrieve our missing possessions. Thanks to some innovative extensions of wireless technology, today there is a better way. You click an app on your phone and a tag attached to your prized possession, announces where it is hidden.

But it is not just geriatrics like us, who should welcome these new tools to worry-free living: For the young and restless, smart tags enable levels of convenience that were hitherto  undreamt of. You enter a restaurant and tap your table with your phone. The menu opens on your handset, with any preset restrictions you may have set — like vegetarian or diabetic.

 

NFC Bluetooth tags

These may seem like trivial applications — that is because  the smart tags story is  still a work in progress, limited only by one’s imagination and creativity. The trend is largely driven by two technologies: Near Field Communication and Bluetooth. NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices over five to 10 cm distance. NFC tags are thin, coin-sized circuits which can be fashioned like stickers. They are passive i.e., they have no power source of their own and draw it wirelessly from another active NFC device. Tags, can typically store from 100 to 1000 bytes of information and these can be programmed to do just about anything: transferring pictures, text and video links. You can embed an NFC tag on any surface — in a brochure for example — and it will open up an entire multimedia document. Such tags are now available by the dozen, for  around Rs 50 and are reusable.

NFC Bluetooth tags

Programming them on your phone using special NFC apps is quite easy — so you can tweak  the tags to do a variety of things.  Some  wireless speakers use NFC to connect to the phone. The biggest use of NFC tags may be in the payments business. Many points of sale now allow you to pay by bringing your phone close to the NFC station: All your credit card information remains secure.

The more basic use of tags  to track items, people and pets, is best done using  Bluetooth. This is usually good for 10 metres or so.  Bluetooth tags are larger    and stay in constant communication with a Bluetooth enabled device. Indian companies have launched some useful versions.

Such wireless ways to connect have overtaken technologies like Bar codes, Quick Response Codes, even Radio Frequency ID (RFID) because they are simpler, not necessarily better. In today’s tech duniya — your solution must work for dummies — or die.

Evotag: Find it fast!
A Gurgaon-based startup, Evoxyz Technologies has made a name in micro location technologies and launched arguably India’s first Bluetooth tracker, Evotag. The tiny rubber encased device needs to be paired with the Evotag app on your phone. This allows you to set up one of many use scenarios: locate any  item to which you have attached the tag; locate a pet; know when your child  strays away from you; locate baggage when it comes near you — on an airport conveyor belt. You can ask the lost item to announce itself — with a ring. In another useful situation, you can stick the tag on your front door and programme your phone to ring if the door is opened.

NFC Bluetooth tags

In fact the tag is a bahuroopi that you can train for any number of situations. With the tag you also get an LED torch-keychain to which you can attach the tag if you like. It costs Rs 1,399 — a small price to pay for peace of mind. It is available  later this week from online portals or from the parent company.

— IndiaTechOnline

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