Saturday, July 06, 2013

Another appeal for awesome ideas with NFC

I’m still on the lookout for cool things people have done or intend to do or wish they could do with NFC.  I’ve done some fairly fun stuff using Tasker  I use Tasker to describe a context, based on what my phone thinks I’m doing, so I can use NFC tags as context-aware switches.
This means that bumping my phone on a single NFC tag does different things depending on the context. 
A very simple example:
My phone knows where I am, so if I bump it against a particular tag when I’m at work, it sets my phone to my work profile. But it also knows when I have meetings so if I’m at work and I have a meeting, bumping the same tag will set the phone to the meeting profile. When I’m at home, bumping the tag will set the phone to my home profile and so on.
Tasker can do this sort of thing all by itself and without the need to bump tags. But the problem is that there are always exceptions (I’m in a meeting but I really need to take an important call anyway, so the normal meeting profile doesn’t apply). In this case, I don’t want my phone to make decisions for me, I want it to understand the context and leave it up to me what action to take without my having to mess about with a bunch of settings on my phone.  So in this case, if I’m at work (my phone knows my location) and in a meeting (my phone can see my calendar) bumping will set the profile to meeting, not bumping won’t.
This is a very simple, dull scenario and I’m sure it doesn’t sell the concept very well. I have some more complicated and interesting ideas and I’m happy to discuss them with anyone who’s playing about in this area.  I’m particularly interested in the application of these ideas to mobile cloud computing, especially regarding privacy.
If anyone out there knows anyone with similar interests – commercial or academic – please point them this way.
I wear NFC tags all the time now so that when an Idea occurs to me I can just go ahead and implement it on the spot. It’s fun.  I’ll end this post with another fun – if not entirely practical for obvious reasons – scenario. I’ve implemented it but haven’t tested it yet (again, for obvious reasons):
When I’m at an airport, I bump my phone on a tag. My phone recognises that I’m in an airport and sets my phone to flight mode. When the plane takes off, my phone notices that the altitude has increased and sets a flag indicating that I’m in the air.  Later, when the altitude drops to fairly close to zero (since not all airports are at sea level) the phone waits ten minutes then turns flight mode off again.
When I’m not in an airport, bumping the same tag will do some other context-specific thing.  For example, when I get to the car hire place, bumping might open the satnav software on my phone and plot a route to my hotel. When I’m at the hotel, bumping might plot a route to my meeting location or back to the hire car place.
This is not entirely practical since you have to turn your phone off during flights, but I thought it was quite an interesting scenario anyway.
Can you think of any others?  Do you know anyone who is working in this sort of area?  Can you hook me up?

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