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NFC Tech Advances IoT Device Connection Capabilities
Wearable Tech World Feature Article
September 04, 2014
NFC Tech Advances IoT Device Connection Capabilities
By Casey Houser
Contributing Writer

The Internet of Things is rapidly growing, and as consumers become more familiar with the concept, they create a demand for easier control of home devices such as appliances, wearable tech such as smartwatches, and home electronics. The IoT often demands that users control their devices through the cloud and that both the controller and receiver are able to connect to the Internet; however, as one company recently announced, there is a market for controlling devices with near-field communications (NFC) tech.

NXP Semiconductors (News - Alert), a company that creates innovative technology supporting the secure connection of devices, announced recently that it has created a passive technology that relies on NFC to link smart devices. Called NTAG I²C and created with the intention of providing users with the ability to perform advanced device pairings as well as personalization and maintenance of electronic devices, the company pairs a contactless NFC interface with a contact I²C interface that sits alongside onboard non-volatile memory. This allows users to use their NFC-ready mobile phones with any device that supports the I²C technology.

Rutger Vrijen, vice president and general manager of the tagging and infrastructure business line at NXP Semiconductors, explained a few of the interactions customers can expect to make with the new technology.

"It will now become possible to use the highly intuitive UI on your smartphone to program a washing machine, exchange data with an exercise bike or wristband, and download specific cooking recipes to your microwave oven," Vrijen said.

Until now, to complete such operations, users would have had to use proprietary touchscreens or Wi-Fi connectivity to complete the same device connections. I²C makes it possible for users to access the embedded microcontrollers already present in normal electronic devices.

For Android (News - Alert) developers, NXP's MIFARE software development kit also works with the I²C technology, so they can continue to focus on creating mobile applications that continue to advance the state of the Internet of Things. I²C-enabled devices will also be able to harvest energy from mobile devices such as smartphones to power their own microcontrollers. Power drain from any device, however, should be minimal because the technology is optimized for extremely low-power situations.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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