Imagine the world where you can interact with almost any object in your everyday life, get relevant and contextual information, and bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds. Consider receiving information about furniture, clothing, or other items simply by tapping the object with your smartphone or tablet. Next generation appliances can get washing instructions from our dirty clothing, microwaves can use the right temperature and settings based on what's being cooked. The information that's being passed between these "smart" objects is exchanged using short range low-energy sensor technology: RFID, NFC, and BLE. The low-energy wireless technology has been around for some time and used in many industries. This technology requires a wireless sensor or a tag (RFID or NFC) and a reader that can collect data from the sensor/tag and perform certain action (e.g. security check-in). Today RFID and NFC tags are becoming ubiquitous and, more importantly, we have devices in our pockets that are always connected and can now read information from RFID/NFC tags. The objects themselves aren't "smart" but rather our smartphones can now get information about the objects and perform a variety of contextual tasks/actions and also interact with other smartphone applications and cloud services. RFID is a wireless short-range low-energy device that can be embedded into any object making it "smart" and able to interact with RFID readers, which can then query the object and get updates (e.g. temperature sensor). For example, an RFID chip can be embedded into a card to open security gates, perform a check-in, or track location. You can also use RFID-enabled sensors to monitor bridges (Smart Skin technology: http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=206881). BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy works very similarly to RFID but can provide greater data transfer capability in a more secure data context between Bluetooth-enabled devices. Unlike classic Bluetooth - that most computer accessories, cars and smartphones have today - BLE devices are much more energy efficient and can run on low-power batteries. Using BLE for example, you can measure your pet’s activity (http://www.whistle.com/) or tag and locate any object within your household (http://www.sticknfind.com/) or for your fitness needs (http://www.fitbit.com/). What if you wanted a more secure wireless data transfer? Enter the world of NFC. NFC works similarly to RFID; it offers short-range wireless data transfer but in a more secure format. Your smartphone needs to be tapped against an NFC tag to perform certain task. For example, you can tap your phone against a grocery item to buy the item or you can get information from posters, shops, trains, or in fact any object. You can also use NFC technology for information collection, such as evidence data collection (NFC security bag: http://www.alertsecurityproducts.com/nfcsecuritybag/index.shtml). NFC can also be used for fast user authentication instead of traditional ID badges by easily pairing up NFC tags with another form of authentication on your body thus creating two-factor authentication that is becoming a real need in healthcare and being mandated by the DEA as a standard security practice. Healthcare presents interesting NFC opportunities. For example, patient information can be retrieved by simply walking into a room and tapping a smartphone/tablet against an NFC tag. NFC tags can be attached to patient wristbands, medication packages and employee ID badges. When administering medication, nurses can use a smartphone to tap the tags on the patients' wristband and the medication to verify that the dosage is correct and for the right patient and also track who administered the drug and when it took place. These are just some of the exciting new technologies we’ve been exploring recently. Contact us today to learn how we can help you put them into action to solve your everyday business problems.