Video: Screenly, Evrything Mash Up NFC, Smartphones, Digital Signage For Retail

March 3, 2017 by Dave Haynes

Here’s an interesting little digital signage/NFC technical demo that UK-based CMS provider Screenly put together for its presence with Ubuntu and Evrything at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

It shows how a store that already has display infrastructure in place, and already uses NFC on its clothing tags, could make a merchandising screen particularly useful.

Hold your NFC-enabled phone to a tag and it throws a url to the phone. But more to the point, it does a lookup and shows real-time product availability on the item. That happens because IoT provider Evrything is integrated with the inventory back office.

I asked Screenly’s Viktor Petersson how many retailers actually use NFC, and was told Evrything has about 2 billion items under management. “The key here is that many brands already use NFC/RFID in their supply chain, so we are simply re-using what they already have,” says Petersson. “It would of course not be cost effective to implement NFC tagging for this alone.”

The set-up, which runs on Ubuntu Linux and low-cost Raspberry Pis, also supports non-NFC enabled phones “The way we are able to do this is that we have a custom website that people can simply take a photo of the label. We then run image processing on that label to figure out what product it is, and give the customer the same experience,” says Petersson. “The NFC example makes for a cooler demo, but we need to support both.”

You have likely seen something like this before, with holding a phone to an NFC tag at a screen triggering a url to a phone and changing what’s on the big screen. I have seen Capital Networks and Real Digital Media do that. The main difference here is the back-office/IoT integration.

  1. Apple has crippled NFC on the iPhone so those Apple customer that paid so much for the device are disallowed to use their own private property to engage in commerce within the society they live in. Apple only allows NFC on the iPhone to be used for Apple Pay; a Communist Berlin Walled Commerce Business Model that victimizes their customers and is also detrimental to the well being of our American society.

    As a result, here in America NFC is still at a stand-still or barely causing a ripple because we have concluded often hearing from the horse’s mouths themselves, the marketing sectors play monkey see monkey do and for the most part they only sell iPhone solutions to their customers which is quite foolish if you ask me.

    BTW – I’m looking for a business interested in purchasing a fleet of vehicles; we have modified the vehicles so they are only allowed to make left handed turns but what the heckm driving in a circle is a benefit because it eventually takes you right back where you started from. What a bargain!

    The bright future for NFC in America is on the horizon regardless as manufacturers are slowly but surely integrating NFC into their products. HP, Samsung and others for example not to mention most of the automobile manufacturers which will perhaps help people in America realize what Apple is doing to them.

    As a startup, my business REALLY needs to learn how those implementing NFC tagging in other nations where it seems to have much better recognition and use are coping with the fact that the iPhone is crippled.

    Secondly, I would like to learn why Viktor Petersson still considers tagging per se to remain too costly as he was quoted as saying when NFC tags cost less that the card stock or other materials they are adhered to when purchased by the roll which typically equates to 1,000 pcs per roll which can be had for three cents per piece when purchased directly from Asian manufacturer(s.)

    Next time people from “over there” whom are using NFC tags are interviewed please ask them meaningful questions as they pertain to our markets here in te USA.

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