Before you read further, you may want to cue the music to Hanna Barbera’s space age cartoon, The Jetsons. The Internet of Everything (a.k.a. The Internet of Things) seems to be bringing the world closer to a reality where your refrigerator can order groceries, your smartphone can start your car, and tattoos only show when you want them to be seen. Two of the keys to connecting everyday things to each other and to the Internet are radio frequency identification (RFID) chips and Near Field Communication (NFC) systems.
RFID chips are all around us. Companies use them to manage inventories and farmers use them to track livestock. Those travelling overseas recently would have probably used an RFID chip. Newer passports have chips embedded to make it easier for Security to read them. In addition, contactless smart credit cards, which rely on chips and pin codes, are the standard across most of Europe and much of South America and Asia.
NFC is short-range wireless communications technology that may be best known for making it easier to pay for things with your smartphone or tablet. According to Venture Beat, an online magazine that focuses on the role of technology in daily life, one of the most powerful applications of NFC technology may be tag writing and reading. How does it work? Imagine this:
“When you arrive at home you will hold your phone up to the NFC tag embedded in the door. This will turn the electronic lock, opening the door, but it will also switch your phones to “home mode,” enabling it to use your home Wi-Fi network and launching an app that connects to your home server to turn on the lights. Heading to the kitchen, you might then put your tablet next to the stovetop to begin cooking the evening meal. NFC tags in the tablet and stovetop recognise each other, the tablet starts up the recipe app with instructions on cooking tonight’s dinner. At the end of the evening, you’ll place your device on the bedside table and the proximity to another tag will bring up the clock/alarm app.”
Just think. Someday, the Internet of Everything may even include Jetsons-style flying cars.