Getting set up
Making tags that do several things simultaneously is good but let's look at a simple use: sending a Tweet to family or neighbours to say carers have visited and everything is fine. This is what we call a Walk Thru (or through for UK audience).
This example is prepared using a Nexus 7 tablet pc with latest version of Android (Jellybean as it is September 2012). However, any current Android mobile device with NFC can do this.
Next, you need some NFC tags (I'll blog about which ones later but what're using here is called MiFare)
NFC tag writing software is easy to get through Google Play store. In this example I have used a free Android app called NFC Task Launcher.
Open NFC Task Launcher and this is the first screen.
So press on New Tag. And next screen with different ways of using an NFC Tag comes up.
We're interested in New Task.
Time to add an action.
We want to send a Tweet. Select Twitter Tweet.
Just type in a simple message. Add a specific person to send the Tweet to by starting with @_User_Name (change text to their Twitter name). The text in this example in open to be read by any followers of the person sending it (so all friends and family are contacted simultaneously).
Now it's time to transfer the new instructions to a Tag. Just holding the tag against the mobile device (normally on the back near the top - Near Field Communication uses a little radio transmitter to pass data - look in the manual if you're not sure where the transmitter is). Just holding the tag against the device will transfer data or 'write' the tag.
You get a confirmation message to say it has worked.
To test that it's all working as planned: close the NFC Tag Launcher app. Now just tap the device on the NFC Tag.
A tiny icon appears in the top right of the devices which shows it has done what the NFC Tag instructed it to do (i.e. send a message). You can pull down the Notification Tab for more detail.
Switching to Twitter, we can see the Tweet in the stream of messages and open it.
So that's it.
A few minutes of work to make a tag that can automatically tells people you or your relative or friend is fine. No need to poke at keyboard or open apps - just a simple Tap.
With different types of NFC Tag, we can do much more at the same time.