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NFC technology and its daily use through NFC stickers (tags)

Design and purpose of labels

The advantage of NFC technology is that it can be embedded in both an active chip and a passive tag. The latter does not require energy to operate, you can forget about regular recharging. At the same time, NFC tags have a minimum size, which allows them to be even in some key fob. In fact, each such tag is a small antenna as thick as a paper sheet.

The use of NFC tags can be for a variety of purposes. Most often they can be found in bank cards. In this case, the label is used for contactless payment – you just need to make sure that the terminal supports it. This significantly speeds up the payment process, because in most cases you will not be required to enter a pin code.

NFC tags are also sold as separate accessories. They can be placed on a table or hung from a bunch of keys. Such tags are used to control the “smart home”. And with their help, you can make the smartphone automatically switch to a certain mode of operation. For example, the mark may be on the dashboard of a car.

In this case, touching it with a smartphone will turn on Bluetooth, after which the driver will communicate with callers via a wireless headset. And it is not necessary that only one action be programmed. In addition to Bluetooth, your favorite radio station can turn on, as well as the GPS navigator starts. In short, it all depends on the user’s imagination!

How to set up an NFC profile

With the NFC sticker, you can set up different profiles for the convenience of working with your mobile device depending on your location.

NFC activation. If there is no icon of an active NFC module on the notification panel of your smartphone, then you can enable it using the menu items “Settings – Wireless networks – Enable NFC” or use a special widget. Then install the free Trigger app from the Play Store.

Operating mode. In the window that opens, click on the “ ” icon. Go to the “Set up Job – NFC” menu to create jobs. I note that in the Trigger application, the items highlighted in yellow will be available only after purchasing the PRO version of the utility that costs ≈100 rubles. For further use of the NFC functions, they are not particularly necessary. Click “Next” to go to the next menu item.

Create a task. In the menu item “Set up a task” click “” and activate the necessary tasks in the list of tasks. For the Work profile, select Wireless & LANs – Wi-Fi On/Off, Wireless & LANs – Mobile data on/off, and Sounds and volume – Sound profile.

To confirm, click “Next” and select “Enable” or “Disable” these functions from the menu (menu items will be displayed on the left side of each line). Then you need to turn on Wi-Fi, turn off mobile data, and in the “Sound profile” line, select the “Vibration” item and click the “Add to task” button.

After that, give a name to this task – for example, “At work” – and click “Next”. In the menu item “Configure Switch”, you can configure the sequence of tasks that the Trigger application will perform in turn after connecting a smartphone to an NFC tag. To end your work in the At Work profile, select the same options again, only this time turn off Wi-Fi, turn on mobile data and deactivate Sound Profile, or customize the settings as you like. Click Add to Task and give it a name, such as Home. Now it remains to click the “Finish” button.

Save profile and customize sticker. Save the profile on the NFC sticker by attaching your smartphone to it with the back side, or simply place your mobile device on it. To exchange data, the distance between the smartphone and the tag should be several millimeters, so I recommend that you think over the location of the NFC tag in advance.

Write protection. After all the above steps, you can open the settings menu at the top of the screen to enable another write protection on the NFC tag, but in this case, the information on the sticker cannot be overwritten. Problems with writing information to an NFC tag may also arise if the Trigger application must include a profile that has already been pre-programmed on the sticker. In this case, you will need the Tool Tag Reuse Plugin, a free application from the Play Market that does not require additional configuration.

Work time management. If you want to control your work time using the At Work profile, the free Time recording application from the Play Market will help you with this. It does not require settings: using the “Check it now” and “Turn off check” (“Check out now”) buttons, you can manually enter data, and using the “Switch task” switch from one task to another, for example, “My tasks – [Name of your task].”

In the “Set up task” menu item, select ” – Applications and shortcuts – Open application” and confirm the settings by clicking “Next”. In the menu window that appears, among applications, select Time recording (Timesheet), and in the next menu select “com.dynamicg.timerecording. PublicServices$Checkln”.

Where to buy NFC tags?

If you are interested in sticker tags, which are the easiest to use, then you will have to visit AliExpress. This is where they have the most choice. For example, you can purchase a set of ten different Ntag213 stickers – the cost of such a set does not exceed 220 rubles.

You can easily buy NFC tags from different manufacturers. This will not affect their work in any way, because they use the same protocol. In fact, such products differ from each other only in the form and the depicted pattern.

NFC technology and its daily use through NFC stickers (tags)

If six tags are enough for you, then we suggest that you familiarize yourself with a somewhat truncated set from AnyNFC. However, its purchase will cost even more – for a set of six stickers it costs 312 rubles. But on the other hand, these stickers are made on thicker paper; it is much more difficult to damage them.

The options discussed above have specific patterns. If you set out to program some unusual commands, then you need stickers without any houses, planes and other images. For example, 6 multi-colored stickers, sold for about 83 rubles (excluding shipping), only have the NFC wireless technology logo. When using these stickers, you will be guided by their color and location.

There is an even more simplified version. You can buy 10 labels without drawings. These will be the thin antennas mentioned at the very beginning of the article. Then you can make any image with your own hands by applying it to the antenna, turning it into a full-fledged NFC tag. The easiest way for this purpose is to use a printer and self-adhesive paper.

But a sticker tag is not always required. In some cases, it must be made in the form of an accessory that would be attached to a bunch of keys. Then you need to buy a set of NTAG215 key fobs. The antennas in them are enclosed inside a plastic case. The keychain is attached to the keys with a metal ring. You can stick any image you need on the body.

Setting and setting PIN code

Thanks to the NFC tag, you can set a PIN code on your smartphone using the Tasker app.

NFC technology and its daily use through NFC stickers (tags)

Installing Tasker and Secure Settings apps. To manage enabling/disabling the PIN code request on your smartphone, you need to additionally install the Tasker programs and the Secure Settings plug-in for it. The application has a bunch of useful features: from a notification about a full charge of the battery to turning off the sound when the device is turned over.

You can find both utilities on the Play Market using the search, or download the application from the links above in *.apk format to your smartphone and install it using the explorer. I recommend installing Tasker before Trigger to avoid conflicts, as Trigger will not have access to Tasker tasks.

Creating and setting tasks. Launch Tasker and go to the settings menu. In the general options, check the box next to “Allow external access” so that Trigger has access to Tasker tasks. Use the back button to return to the main menu, go to the “Task” tab and click “ ” to create a task.

Switch PIN code. In the “Action Edit” soft menu at the top right, click the pencil icon next to the “Configuration” line to set the “Secure Settings” function. In the “AH Actions” menu, select “Keyguard” and click on the “Toggle” item.

Save the settings by clicking on the floppy disk icon and you will be taken back to the Tasker program. Press the back button to return to the main application menu. It is important to exit the installation menu correctly, otherwise the utility will not activate the task. NFC task integration in Trigger. Open the Trigger program. If you have already created a profile, enter it using the menu items “My tasks – [Profile name]”, otherwise just create a new task by clicking on the “ ” button.

In the Customize Tasks menu, turn on the Tasker feature by clicking ” – Tasker – Tasker Tasks – Next”. In the App Settings window that appears, click on the magnifying glass icon, select Tasks, and click Add to Tasks. In the same order, in the “Customize Switcher” menu, add Tasker tasks again so that they are correctly installed in the Trigger program and it can execute them. Now all you have to do is write down the information on the sticker, and you can easily turn the PIN on and off using the NFC tag without much difficulty.

NFC technology and its daily use through NFC stickers (tags)

Problems with Galaxy Note 3. Google, HTC, LG and Sony smartphones switch PIN code without problems, but there are difficulties with the Galaxy Note 3 device. In the case of this gadget, we recommend doing the following: create not one, but two Tasker tasks. The first is “PIN On”, and the second is “PIN Off”. Then in the Secure Settings Plug-in select “Password/PIN” at the end of the list.

For the “Off PIN” task, leave the “Off” function, and for the second task “On PIN”, activate the “Enable” function and create a password. Check the box next to “Allow administrator editing”. The application will prompt you for extended rights for Secure Settings – click “Activate” (it should be noted that these settings do not affect the basic rights).

If you want to delete Secure Settings, first of all, you will need to cancel the administrator rights in the program by selecting the menu items “Security – Administrator – Secure Settings”. In this way, you can make the necessary settings for activating and deactivating the PIN code request for Samsung phones using NFC technology.

How to record an NFC tag?

Many users believe that recording NFC tags is the lot of professionals. And without the appropriate commands, such products are useless – touching them will not cause any action. How to program this or that command using an Android smartphone? Is it really difficult? We hasten to please you, everything is much easier than you think.

A special program helps to record this or that action that will be performed by the smartphone after touching the NFC tag. Similar applications are easily found on Google Play. We recommend installing NFC Tools and NFC Tasks on your device. Their interface is in English. But even basic knowledge of the language is enough to work with these programs. As a last resort, you can use an online translator.

Working, for example, with NFC Tools is very easy. It is enough to go to the “Tasks” tab, after which it remains only to select the task that the smartphone will perform when it is brought to a specific NFC tag. And don’t forget to touch the sticker or keychain afterwards.

Of course, NFC communication must be activated in the device settings. Read more about using NFC technology in a separate article.

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Almost all programs used to communicate with NFC tags are arranged in a similar way. Some offer simple commands to choose from. Others are more complex and compound. Keep in mind that not all of them are free. However, such applications are not expensive either.

How it works

In short, just like passive RFID chips, NFC uses:

  • antenna;
  • safety block.

The antenna transmits information between the tag and the reader.

The microchips inside the NFC tag are also powered by the antenna.

The security block consists of a set of chips, some of which store user data, and the other deals with signal decoding, reading and writing information.

The security block can be either a physical device – specific chips on an NFC tag, or emulated by software, as is the case with PDA – smartphones, PDAs, smart watches and other portable devices.

In general, the device resembles a microcomputer – it even has its own processor and RAM.

Due to its design, the NFC tag does not require power, is cheap and allows you to reprogram yourself for different tasks. But there is a limitation – to organize data exchange, you need at least one active NFC controller.

Programming NFC tags

Now that we got the tags and pasted them around the house, it’s time to add some magic – program the NFC tags to do something. To do this, we do not need a special programmer or test stand.

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Let’s start:

  1. Install the TagWriter program from the Play Market – the official application from the NXP manufacturer. It is completely free.
  2. Select the item: Create, write and store.
  3. Next item: New.
  4. Now select the record type. This can be plain text, a phone number, an Internet link, an application launch, or data for a Bluetooth connection. There are others, but the ones listed above are the most common. Just a text will do for the test.
  5. We type any text.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Now we have reached the additional options screen. Here you can select an application to launch after reading this label; set protection to overwrite this tag by another device. There will also be information about chip models that can accommodate our message.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Now let’s bring the smartphone to the mark.
  10. Congratulations! You have just flashed your first NFC tag.

How to use?

It’s time to put the acquired knowledge into practice! Below you will find some ideas on how you can apply this modern technology.

  1. Share your contacts – for example: attach a tag to the windshield, now, if the car interferes with the exit, you can send an SMS or call.
  2. Do-it-yourself digital business card – we glue our label to a regular business card, now our business partners can transfer our contact to the phone’s address book with one touch.
  3. Home Wi-Fi password. We glue the label on the router and write the password into it using the InstaWifi application. Now your guests can connect to your Wifi router by simply touching the tag.
  4. Start syncing your smartphone with your home computer. The label can be glued to a laptop or system unit and registered in it to launch an application for data synchronization.
  5. Transfer meeting address in Google Maps – no need to write down, transfer text to SMS, just create a place in Google Maps on your phone and write it down on a special tag in the office. Each employee reads it at a convenient time.
  6. Turn on the hotspot. We glue a label next to the laptop, then install the Trigger application. Let’s add a new task, select NFC as a trigger, leave the selection of restrictions by default, select “Wireless and local networks -{amp}gt; Wifi zone”, and on the last screen we bring it to the NFC tag. As a result, if you go outside of your Wifi router with your laptop, then touch the label and your smartphone will switch to access point mode, and the laptop will continue to access the Internet.
  7. Activate night mode. TagWriter is configured to enable silent mode. Now, as soon as you bring your smartphone to this label, notification sounds will turn off and nothing will disturb your sleep. And make one more mark to turn off the silent mode so that in the morning your smartphone returns to its original state.
  8. Automate your car. Use the tag in the car to turn on Bluetooth, 3G, launch the player or GPS navigator. Now you
  9. NFC-enabled devices are gradually appearing on the market – stereos, TVs that allow you to pair with a phone or tablet for remote control.
  10. In the field of inventory management, NDEF records can be used to store information about the place of departure of goods, their passage through various intermediate points, and the like.
  11. Lighting control. Chip maker NXP has teamed up with smart home specialists EnOcean. At CES 2014, they showed a product that uses NFC to set up and add lighting elements to a home network.
  12. Locks that use NFC cards instead of a key are quite common in the West, but if your office has electronic passes, you can write information from them to Google Pay and use your smartphone. The price of such locks in stores does not exceed $ 200, and combined locks are even cheaper. Tags can be written to the phone, to a special NFC ring, to a key fob – in general, they can be replicated for anyone.
  13. In the home library. Create a detailed description of each book, and attach a neat NFC tag to the spine. Now you can get information about the book without taking it out of the shelf and without flipping through the description.

Instead of conclusion

NFC technology takes the next step in the transition to a smart home.

Surrounding ourselves with many tags, we will greatly simplify the routine, daily operations, such as setting an alarm or setting the smartphone to silent mode in a meeting.

Experiment and find your own ways to use labels.

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