How to use NFC to automate your mobile routine

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first_imgEvery time we change locations, the first thing most of us do is adjust our phones. When you leave your home or office, maybe you turn off WiFi to conserve battery life and turn on Bluetooth to connect to a hands free device. Power users meticulously configure brightness and sound setting on their devices based on what environment they are in, so as to save battery life and adjust to personal preferences. It’s something most people don’t even notice they are doing, and it happens every all day, every day.If you have a phone with an NFC chip, none of that is necessary. This guide will walk you through a NFC setup that you can shape to fit your routine, making full use of near field communication and all your smartphone’s customization options.Here’s what you needNFC Tags – There are plenty of places to buy NFC tags online, but the ones used in this article are 38mm round Desfire EV1 from NXP Semiconductors. These were recently unveiled at CES, being able to store 4KB of data to the tag itself. For the purposes demonstrated in this article, these tags are overkill. To date, the largest tag I have written is 134 bytes. If you are interested in the tags used in this article, you can find them here.Android App – Head to the Android Market and grab the $1.99 NFC Task Launcher app.“Car Mode” NFC TagIf you have a car dock for your phone, or if you have a good spot for an NFC sticker in your car, you can place a tag that will automate the settings you normally change when you get in your car. Additionally, you can launch whatever apps you prefer to use while driving, be it navigation, music, or a specialty in-car app like Torque.To get things working, just open up NFC Task Launcher and pick out all of the settings you would normally change when getting into your car. When you have finished choosing your setting, select any apps that you would normally open in the car. Be sure to do this in the correct order, as you are compiling a script that will perform each task in a row. When you are done, it will look a little like this:Once you have chosen everything you want the Tag to do, push the “Write Tag” button and press the phone to the NFC sticker. As soon as the tag is in range, you will hear a sound and the instructions will be written to the tag. Now, you can take that tag and place it wherever you choose, for example, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone dock. (Just be sure to place it towards the bottom of the device, as that is where the NFC chip is on the Galaxy Nexus.)Now, every time you tap your phone to that NFC tag, the phone will immediately run the list of commands assigned by the app. This can be done for nearly every aspect of your phone, with the only limit being how many commands you can write to a tag.NFC Task Launcher is a great basic app that can tie into more advanced apps as well. Tasker is a paid app in the Android Market that allows you to automate things on your phone using any event you choose. It’s a pretty advanced app that requires some setup, but the end result is amazing. You can used Advanced Tasker tricks, like the ability to automatically respond to an SMS you receive while driving as items that can be launched in NFC Task Launcher.Once the Car Mode is setup, you might want to try one for your living room, office, bedside table, and any other place where you have special demands for your handset. All you need is a stable spot to put down the NFC sticker.Final ThoughtsCombining the time I have spent with this, and everything the NXP Semiconductors team demonstrated at CES 2012, NFC has a pretty bright future here in the US. Just picture it: one day you will tap your phone to your favorite bar stool, and you’ll check into Foursquare. Everything from viewing movie trailers by tapping your phone to the poster to starting a motorcycle is (or will be) possible with NFC. As early adopters of NFC in the US, how we choose to use this technology on a daily basis will help shape how it is used in the future.As our homes get smarter, the ability to automate the whole house will be possible. Maybe that tag by the bedside will also tell your Nest Thermostat to lower the temperature a couple of degrees, or turn off the television and shut the lights off.last_img

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