Archive for the ‘Emerging Technology’ Category

 

Not very long ago Google announced about “Digital Wallet” leveraging on Near Filed Communication. Some retail store are also figuring out how you can use Augmented Reality and Face Recognition technology to auto-debit money from the customer’s account to enhance shopping experience.

However these technologies are still pretty unstable when you combine it with m-Commerce or e-Commerce. But one thing that’s unique about an user would be his thumb impression or palm impression. So bringing it into mobile applications would not only solve the issue of payment in retail but checkin to airports (which already some airports have tried).

Fujitsu has manufactured a system called PalmSecure that requires no hardware on the user side. The technology work just by waving your hand in front of the detector. It identifies the users and make payment on their behalf. Very useful for priority customers or gold customers in retail. Same thing can be applied to business class passenger in airlines enriching their boarding experience.

PalmSecure is a identification / security scheme that falls under the umbrella of biometrics. Examples of other biometric identifiers are fingerprint, voice, SIRI, face recognition etc. PalmSecure is uniquely unobtrusive as it requires the same gesture required to use an NFC phone wallet or to swipe a credit card, only you don’t have to have anything on your person to make it work.

Few organizations have adopted it already as a trial to replace Single Sign On to access to their enterprise systems. I am thinking of ordering some of these devices and try to see if you can connect it to an iPad which then can control anything starting from opening the door of a car to give me my medical history for last 6 months.

Reference: http://www.fujitsu.com/us/services/biometrics/palm-vein/palmsecure/index.html

Ever since I installed iOS5 Beta firmware, I was curious to try out iCloud. It has so many amazing features like new notifications, over the air print for map, camera grid, better photo editing options to name few. Everything else was working except iCloud. Every time I tried it used to say “Your Apple ID is correct but the device is not registered/eligible for iCloud”. I thought may be it has something to do with the hardware.

Earlier today my friend told me that iCloud beta is released, and curiously I tried again and it worked and worked like magic.

For those who are listening first time about iCloud, this is a content integration platform which integrates all your contents and makes it available on all your apple devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac. Everything happens over the air (wirelessly). Not only that, it makes all the app purchases available to all your devices. Apart from synchronizing it takes a back up of all the data (currently up to 5MB) and make it available on cloud. So if your device gets crashed, you don’t loose the data ever.

In this beta release it has got the following features:

  • Mail : Synchronizes and takes backup of mails in your inbox and makes it available on other devices
  • Contacts : Synchronizes and backs up your contacts
  • Calendar : Synchronizes and take backup of your Calendar Events
  • Find my iPhone: Locate your device, send message, lock and wipe data
  • iWork: Office suite, backs up all documents, presentations

The first look is amazing with future scope to support photo, music, app, video synchronization. Won’t be surprised if they plan to store the snapshot of the system like how they do it on time machine.

Mobile phones or smart phones are no more commodities people were using just to have mere communication or keep in touch with their contacts. Ever since smart phones have been introduced with advanced computing ability and connectivity users are no more using it as a device just to communicate. They have started using it as a computing device starting from checking email to playing games, from finding driving directions using map and Augmented reality to watching their favorite TV shows. All those features and much more have replaced the PC usage by 30% as per the report on Venture Beats.

NFC also known as Near Field Communication adds a new dimension to the functionalities of mobile phones and primarily being targeted for three main uses “sharing, pairing, and transaction. It is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less.

It has two major components an initiator and a target. The initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries.

NFC tags contain simple data or elaborate instructions that enable them to perform such functions as unlocking doors, paying for goods, launching phone calls or exchanging data between users. The majority of tags for consumer applications are read-only. However, NFC tags can also be read and re-writeable.

The tags can securely store personal data such as debit and credit card information, loyalty program data, PINs and networking contacts, among other information.

NFC Multiple Uses

A wide range of applications are possible through NFC, such as:

– Mobile ticketing for public transport including rail, metro, and airline journeys; movies; concerts; and sporting events

– Mobile payment: Users can pay for goods using NFC-enabled devices, either NFC-enabled phones with stored data that act as a debit/ credit payment card or NFC-powered contact less payment cards they touch to readers.

– Smart posters and objects: NFC-enabled phones can be used to read RFID tags on commercial establishments’ signs for information or promotions or scan outdoor billboards.

– Bluetooth pairing: In the future, pairing of Bluetooth 2.1 devices with NFC support will be as easy as bringing them
close together and accepting the pairing.

Emerging applications include:
P2P payment, Identity documents, Mobile commerce, Electronic keys, Health and safety applications, Social networking, Smart mobility, Entertainment etc.

While Android supports NFC that typically acts as an initiator when the screen is on. The NFC enabled application actively looks for NFC tags and start activities to handle them. Android 2.3.3 also has some limited P2P support.

Tags can range in complexity, simple tags just offer read/write semantics, sometimes with one-time-programmable areas to make the card read-only. More complex tags offer math operations, and have cryptographic hardware to authenticate access to a sector. The most sophisticated tags contain operating environments, allowing complex interactions with code executing on the tag.

Here’s an example of Simple Photo Sharing Application on Android using NFC. Youtube Video

Rumors suggested the iPhone 5 would support NFC. We can never know until Apple officially announces it. However, a leaked document shows how apple plans to introduce NFC in Travel industry.

What might be interesting to discover is whether apple releases it as a framework for other developers to play around it or make it
a private API.