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iPhone and NFC – a love and hate story

The good news – As we, and many others predicted and anticipated, the new iPhone 6 has an NFC chip inside!

The less good news – The NFC comes with no API access for 3rd party developers.

What does it all mean?

The NFC chip inside the new iPhone is a regular NXP chip which fully supports all NFC features such as tag reading writing and so on. For the time being Apple keeps it out of developers’ reach. There is no way to access it via the API. But at the same time, all that is needed now is an iOS update to make the iPhone 6 fully NFC capable. This will make NFC a ubiquitous technology and open the door to many talented developers and entrepreneurs to use this magical technology to create magical solutions.

We at tag-a-bag, are great believers in the ability of NFC technology to change the way we interact with objects around us. The ability to touch a “simple” physical object with a phone in order perform an action or a series of actions, is far more simple than any other current existing solution. In addition, the fact that the object could “know” what it is (a door lock knows it’s a lock door, a bag knows it’s a bag, a bicycle knows it’s  a bicycle, you get the point…) coupled with knowing who is performing the action (phone owner) creates the foundation for a complete new paradigm of relationships between people and “things”.

When we founded tag-a-bag, our vision was to create a Product Relationship Management (PRM) solution. By using our solution a user takes a virtual ownership over a product and communicates with the brand’s product by simply touching it. This allows users to get more out of the product they own, and at the same time brands to communicate with their customers. This is extremely powerful as brands can establish a meaningful communication channel at the time their customer are using their products.

In one of our projects we created a game where users accumulate miles on their bags (similar to an airline’s frequent miler program). When a user touches our smart bag-tag, the tag-a-bag App is opened with tailored information provided by the brand. It could be information regarding best practices of cleaning the specific bag, packing tips or any other information which might be relevant to the bag/user/location.

Our technology is object agnostic. We started with bags as our lost & found system is a great tangible feature that got things going.

We are looking forward to deploy our PRM solution with additional brands and we need Apple to open the API to unleash the true power of NFC. Just as we believed that Apple would incorporate NFC eventually, we are confident that they will open it to 3rd parties, the good news is that all that’s required is a software update.

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