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Near Field Norwich NFC hack

Back in 2012, I took part in a hack called Near Field Norwich, which was based around using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology similar to London's Oyster card system to make the world a slightly better place.

Several teams entered and presented their mobile-tapping ideas to a panel of judges, featuring the MD of leading NFC company, Proxama.

I produced interactive HTML prototypes for two concepts:

Because we were using Proxama's Touchpoint platform to support the NFC functionality, I was able to build prototypes that actually worked when you tap your phone on real-world objects. The key to the magic was the bundle of programmable stickers that Proxama donated - These stickers send a URL to a mobile device when they come into contact with it.

My company Foolproof made some concept videos using my prototypes. See how we got on:

Let me explain the two concepts...

1. Tap-to-WiFi #

Picture the scene: You arrive at your local coffee shop. The barista takes your order and writes your name (misspelt) on a paper cup. By the counter, you spot a sign that says "tap here for free WiFi". Intrigued, you take your phone out and tap the sign. Before you've even received your flat white, you're connected to the café's high-speed internet, ready to go.

Connecting to the WiFi could be as quick as Apple-paying for your coffee and would prevent people hunting high and low for the password. The original concept was devised by Norwich-based Andy King and Matthew Bolton and has received a lot of press coverage recently... and deservedly so!


2. Tap-to-bet #

With the 'tap-to-bet' concept, we aimed to shorten the gap between a prospective better's intention to bet, and actually going through with it.

Betting could be so easy and quick that it could be done by tapping on a horse's name on a betting shop window whilst walking past. It could be done by tapping on a football team's name on a bus stop poster. In future we might see this kind of betting done by people that wouldn't normally associate themselves with betting shops. The concept has potiential to build a new audience for itself.


Too many exciting ideas to mention here #

The Eastern Daily Press has helpfully listed all of the cool ideas put forward by the teams. It's a shame that I was only able to prototype two of the ideas, but I had great fun doing it, which you might be able to tell from these videos that we put together: