Another kickstarter project, leads to another review. This time it's the EndLessID project. The project to promote and bring NFC to the public. NFC is the short for Near Field Communication, and we'll talk about that in a bit. The focus of the review is to talk about NFC and a little bit about the actual project itself.
NFC is the next generation of communication medium for devices. First there was Infra Red (IR), then came bluetooth which evolved to NFC. This is a technology which is laying above the other two - IR and Bluetooth. NFC is slowing picking up the pace. The technology is currently applied to authorisation, data transfer, payments and simplify device setup.
We all have been using NFC for few years, of course without our knowledge. If you've ever been to the capital of India, i.e. Delhi and have had a Delhi Metro card then you've experienced it already. This card is a basic form of NFC. It is due to the built in tag. When you bring it close to the terminals, it opens up along with showing you the current balance. Another example of NFC in daily use, is at the petrol pumps (gas station). Recall your last visit for the fuel. The service guys taps the wrist based tag and then dispenses the fuel. This tag is also based on NFC.
EndLess ID - the device
NFC has a lot of potential currently and in times to come. EndLess ID makers
I opted for the wrist-band. This felt more appealing and packs 4 NFC tags. Two of these tags are dedicated - one for personal ID and for business card information. The remaining two are custom tags. These can be configured to perform a variety of tasks. The EndLess ID products support below features. The wrist-band tops it all (the reason I bought it).
To setup the EndLess ID product, you need the dedicated app on Android. The app does not work on iOS since iPhones or iPads currently do not have support for NFC built in. As NFC is a dedicated hardware, no support is available for iOS devices. The minimum requirements for the application are Android 4.4.2 and up, internet connection and a NFC enabled phone.
The application is available to download from the Google Play Store. First time you access the application, it prompts you to touch the ID label of the NFC tag. This tag is dedicated for personal identification). After authentication, the app prompts for account login or to register an account. To register, simple information is required and you now have a username & password (yet another set, to be memorised). The good part is, this username & password is required only once during the setup. After registering, the ID tag acts as an authentication medium for the app.
The application is quite simple to use. Based on your selected product from EndLess ID, the app lists the tags for customisation. The app listed the options to configure my business card information and setup tasks for custom tags 1 & 2. The application also listed the option for Blocked Applications to configure. This enables you to manage the access to other applications via the NFC using Custom ID.
One can access the My Account page to manage the account. There is link to the EndLess ID shopping, incase you wish to buy additional products.
Shortfalls - EndLess ID wrist-band
EndLess wrist-band, stands out among the other products. But there are few con's of it as well:
- cheap material - the band created out of cheap rubber material. It smelled like raw rubber when it arrived.
- no water resistance - there are no specifications about the band's water resistant specifications. I haven't taken my chances yet.
- loose locking mechanism - the locking mechanism is quite weak. I had nearly lost it twice during the first 10 days of use.
- WYSIWY(D)G - the band colour choice was not available during order. But, when the box arrived, it had the image of black-red band. Black-red was quite appealing until the box opened. Inside the band turned out to be white-black.
PS: WYSIWYG - What you see is what you get. Here it turned out to be Don't Get.
The conclusion is divided into two pointers. One for NFC technology and other for EndLess product.
NFC: NFC is currently at a nascent stage, the future is bright. Few usage anticipated in future:
- For cashless/cardless payments across the industries
- As a medium for communication between various devices
- For keyless entry to places like hotels, homes and public parking
- Allow more automated tasks on devices
- As integral part of single access public transport system including railways, buses, cabs
EndLess ID: The products offered are quite promising. There are few things EndLess needs to think about from the future scope perspective:
- use better material for the wrist-bands to be wearable
- make a watch band (strap for watches) to enhance the current range of regular watches or the smart ones
- iPhone cases with embedded NFC tags, since the Apple devices current do not have NFC built-in
(If only I'd get any benefits of giving away these business ideas to the EndLess.
Look out for the NFC devices around you and start exploring. If you have any queries around NFC, drop it in the comments section below.