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Playing Touch Tag

The ongoing ubiquity of RFID.  Now phones get in on the act and that would seem to be a very sensible move.  Phones are now ’embodied’ in our everyday acts of communication.  The only time they leave your side is when we sleep.  They are a part of our lives in a way that say, money is or your keys are.  So it seems a natural extension to use RFID for things like price checking in shops and inputting personal data like business card dumps at conferences.

So Matt Jones was demo’ing the NFC Nokia phone tag at Etech.  This seems slightly different from the standard RFID reader in that it only works over a very short distance [NFC stands for Near Field Communication].  This should be inferior then, right?  No.  For the simple reason that ‘touch’ is good for the user.  Now a lot of pseudo academic shit is written about embodiment but the simple fact  is that actually touching something in order to read it  with your mobile phone gives you a definite result.  You know what you have to do and you know when you’ve achived your outcome.  Simple.  The NFC tags themselves are in relatively early stage development but there are robust standards around them [approved in just 14 months..], they are cheap and set to get cheaper and you can both read and write to them. Cool. 

You can currently ‘order’ the tag to produce a url, sms or call.  This could have a huge number of applications initially, no doubt, to ‘push’ information to the user about say, TV progs or theatre shows – to refer to later – from a poster but could easily extend into purchase interactions or…

Clay Shirky, also at Etech, made reference to some cool games based around the use of mobile phones.  Dodgeball being one. Bringing digital into our real world is increasingly doable… and necessary.. and mobile phones are going to be one of the principle ways in which we do that.   

See also:
Wikipedia entry for RFID
IT Week on Nokia and RFID