It seems inconceivable now, but there was a time when it was possible to work without a telephone. Showing my age, I can remember working without a mobile phone. Now, mobile phones are indispensible to all forms of work and schoolchildren ‘need’ a mobile as well as other tablet devices.
The potential for mobile phones to contribute to our work is only starting to be explored. Email, phone calls, messaging and navigation are the most common work activities that take place on a phone at present. What other phone-based work activities are starting to emerge? The camera is increasingly used for work, to record objects, state of work, documents. Mobile Phones are now being used for security and access, via the NFC protocol and also by simply using a phone call or sms as a signal to trigger the opening of a gate. The Maker Movement and the popularity of the Raspberry Pi and Arduino are spreading awareness of how easy it is to use input output signals as switches to trigger actions that automate elements of our domestic and working lives.
I work in the business of RFID technology for Pet Identification and we provide RFID readers that read and collect ID data from microchipped dogs, cats, horses etc. and then make that available to a mobile phone either immediately, or for retrieval at a later stage. This makes the Phone a much more useful work tool. Animal Control Officers who find a lost dog can identify the animal with an RFID reader (if Fluffy has a microchip) and then look up the owner details, there and then, on a reunification service such as www.petlink.net
I am interested in the next stage. Will you be able to identify a microchipped animal with your mobile phone alone? If and when this happens, it would be a huge revolution in Animal Welfare as far more lost dogs and cats would be reunited with their owners. There is an intriguing recent example of how an artist has used a subdermal RFID tag to store art which is read by mobile phone The technology used, is however, not yet viable for Pet Identification because the NFC protocol and High Frequency chip used hav too short a reading distance. You need to know where the chip is and the phone then needs get extremely close before contact can be made. Effective reading distance for Animal Identification should be minimum 10 cm and ideally 20 cm. Otherwise it takes too long to find the chip and the person scanning understandably assumes there probably is no chip. However, what can change in this technology? Can we boost the reading distance of NFC and HF chips in some way?
Mobile phones are omnipresent in the work environment, particularly in field work. Every worker has a strong relationship with their phone. These are becoming vital in more and more ways to the processes of work. All of which means they are fabulous platforms for companies to build relationships with their customers. How can you make your service better via a mobile phone? How are your customers using their phones at work?