Getting Fit

How about NFC tags on all food stuffs showing calories, fats, sugars etc. and an app to add up the value of everything we eat. Link that to one of the new exercise and stress management wrist bands and we could quickly see whether we’re in credit or overdrawn at the calorie bank.

In other words, another donut or two more laps round the block?

Why in 2014 are our valuable teachers still taking registers? Keeping track of whether our children are in school should be automatic function of NFC enabled access cards.

Learning resource centres, labs and sports facilities can all be made simpler and less labour intensive with the huge drop in the cost of installing NFC based systems.

Finding opportunities for automatic collection of essential data should be a top priority for both public and private sector in these days of cuts in funding.

Given the rapid expansion of NFC, with estimates of 1 in 5 smart phones being NFC equipped at the start of 2014, it is logical to expect larger retailers to focus more of their marketing budgets at the kind of highly focused and individualised offers that NFC is ideal for.

Retailers will save a small fortune by using NFC merchandising and promotion rather than the high wastage associated with print and broadcast channels; expect to see those savings convert to better offers.

Away with Keys
One of the best presents in 2014 could be the option to have an NFC driven alternative to carrying car and house keys around.

For motorists it would be great if this could be a retro-fit, like Bluetooth hands-free, so that the majority of us don’t have to wait ten years before we can afford the cars that will have this factory fitted.

Cars would know who is going to drive this time and could set seat position and mirrors instantly, simply prompted by the phone they are carrying, with no actual action by the driver.

Leisure and Travel
Everyone gains with NFC enabled ticketing and access control; 2014 could be the year when you could travel round the world without carry a single paper ticket.
Imagine never again having to stand behind a person whose ticket or visa is buried at the bottom of their hand luggage; instead we all waft effortlessly passed the invisible check-in.
Perhaps we might even see an extension of NFC in luggage labelling, with each suitcase clearly stating where it wants to go and possibly even setting off alarms if it seems to be heading in the wrong direction.
Expect some major advances in the use of NFC to help look after our health. Remote monitoring of health related data such as heart rates, sleep patterns, breathing and even pain thresholds are possible with NFC taking over where expensive, specialist medical only kit used to be the only option.

On the larger scale, NFC is going to play a much more significant role as we travel through everything the NHS has to offer. X-rays, scans and our patient records will be visible to doctors and nurses as soon as they stand near us, all possible by the close proximity security offered only by NFC.

The Translator
With so much signage and information everywhere, and so much freedom to travel wherever we want, the only sticking point can be the change of language. NFC offers a real alternative to endlessly flicking through our English:Mandarin dictionary trying to find a word that looks even vaguely similar.

Instead a simple tap on the NFC tag buried in the signage, a bit of black-box magic from the translation app in our phone and – hey presto – words we can understand.

Helping Others
While the gradual disappearance of coins and notes from our pockets is welcomed by most of us, one lot of people not so happy are the charities and, in particular, the much maligned volunteer collectors. Not only are they banned from rattling their tins and buckets at us in the hope that guilt will overcome apathy; but now many of us don’t even carry the loose change they have relied on.

To the rescue please NFC; a simple tag to attach to the bucket that could collect an electronic 50p and keep that good work going.

Parking Meters
One of the most obvious candidates for a quick cashless payment is parking. The world’s moved on in great strides as we can often pay by credit/debit card or phone Ringo and spend a few minutes walking back and forth to remember both car registration and the number of the space we’re in.

All this for 90p? Come on NFC, step up and save us from coinage slavery. 

Another Dongle
The only trouble with the exciting growth of NFC is that, most of the time, it involves waving close to a grand’s worth of mobile phone around in very public and often crowded places.

How about a little remote thingy, perhaps a ring or a wristband, something really cheap, that we could do the ‘tapping’ with and leave our phones nice and snug and secure where the bad robbers can’t grab them.

It could even be attached by a wire!