Life Hacking – Fun with NFC

This past weekend was Code Camp New York, a fun conference that I enjoy riding the train to and speaking at.  I met up with some friends and learned some cool new things.  I spoke at length with Nick Landry about the NFC tags that Nokia was giving out at the conference, and how I can use them with my phone.

NFC stands for “Near Field Communications” and is a technology that allows stickers or cards that have very small wiring in them that is activated when in the presence of a reader that emits a very small power source to read the content stored in that wiring.  The Nokia Lumia phones have these readers embedded in them.

I came home from the conference with a handful of these stickers and was looking at various ways that I could use them.  In the Lumia phone, you can use these NFC tags to automate tasks on the phone.  After tinkering with a few ideas, I hit on a good one. 

if you’re like me, you use the GPS on your phone… A LOT.  When I’m out driving, especially recently when I am travelling for Telerik, I use my GPS to help me get home.   Its always a pain to have to locate the HERE Drive app on the phone and enter my home address… so I decided to automate this.

Writing an NFC tag is a pretty easy thing to do.  I used an app on the Windows Phone called NFC Interceptor to read and write my stickers.   I selected a Geo Tag NFC tag type to write, and was prompted to enter a latitude and longitude for the location.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know the precise geographical location where I live… its just a few houses down from the corner where the stop sign is.  Ok?

I found my exact latitude and longitude of my location by using Google Maps.  I navigated to my home address and right clicked on “What’s Here” to see my latitude and longitude output in the Search box of the screen.  In the screenshot below, I’m using this technique on the Liberty Bell pavilion in downtown Philadelphia:

With the GPS coordinates handy, I entered them into the NFC tag fields on the phone and tapped the sticker I wanted to write these driving directions to.   I then took this sticker and put it in a place that was VERY convenient:

Now, when I get in the car at some strange location, I can always find my way home by tapping my phone on the sun visor.

What innovative ways have you used an NFC tag?  Let me know in the comments below.