January 5, 2020

Technology and How to Use It In Your Business

NFC Tags Blog

So this is going to be a little bit different than my other posts but this technology is so cool that I just couldn’t help but think about the possibilities available to car audio shops like yours. By using things like Apple Shortcuts or Google’s Action Blocks, the Android equivalent, you can be on your way to becoming more efficient in your day to day.

NFC Tags and How They Work

NFC technology has been around for quite a while but is fairly new in this method of automation. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android pay work off these same methods. They work by using a communication protocol that lets two devices speak the same language and pass information passively. These tags are normally non powered and are just inside of a sticker or piece of plastic.

When a device sees this communication between the tag and itself it can be made to trigger an action that is preprogrammed. Depending on what you tell it to do, and the device you are using, you can do anything from turning on a light, to completely controlling your whole home automation system of your house.

How can I activate these NFC Tags

The easiest thing is your cell phone. Most cell phones in 2020 have NFC capabilities including the Galaxy S devices, and the Apple iPhones. While they can read the NFC tags you need something else to activate something with the tag. This is where things start to change depending on your phone. I personally use Apple iOS, I do not know much about Android but I have heard that it is capable as well. I will use the Apple Shortcuts app in order to explain the process but just know it can be done on Android devices too.

How to get started

First of all you need to buy some NFC Tags to play with. They are very inexpensive and do not wear out” or stop working. I personally ordered a set off amazon for $6.39 that you can find right here. As of January 2020 that was the going price for 10 tags. Once you get those tags this is where you need to make sure you have the Shortcut app installed on your phone.

Shortcut Logo

Once this is done you will want to make a Shortcut. I will link a couple examples here for you to think about. This is definitely not going to be an article how to create these from scratch. Personally if you really want to learn Shortcuts and how to do them I would recommend watching Matthew Cassinelli and Christopher Lawley no YouTube for their examples. Below are some ideas that can easily be done to help you run your store.

  • Turn on/off lights to the whole shop
  • Activate an alarm as you walk out the door
  • Electronically Lock/Unlock front doors
  • Track hours on an install (recording start/stops)
  • Turn on music to play through a stereo
  • Turn AC / Heater on and off

These are just a few simple examples of an endless amount of possibilities. Shortcuts can integrate in with an almost unlimited amount of other devices through the Apple Home Kit. A lot of these shortcuts are already created and all you have to do it add the NFC Automation. Once you have the things you want to automate, you need to tie them to your NFC Tag.

Setting up your first tag

Automation Tab

When you open your Shortcut app if you look at the bottom you will see these three buttons. Click on Automation to open up the menu to start your setup. Once you click on that, you want to press the plus at the top of the page to create your first Automation script.

Create Personal Automation

Here you want to press the Create Personal Automation” button to get started. That will open up multiple different ways to automate your shortcut you made. A few interesting ones to check out are Wi-Fi, for when you connect to the business internet, or arrive and leave based on your physical location. For now we are going to scroll down to the bottom and choose NFC.

Pick NFC

Once you click that you will see a window with a script showing When and then it saying when it senses the NFC tag. Below that you will see the words NFC Tag and Scan next to it. Click Scan to have the next step pop up.

Press Scan

Once that is done you will tap your phone multiple times on top of one NFC tag from the bunch you bought earlier. Make sure there is only because it can sense multiple at once. You should see this message pop up while you are doing so.

Tap the Tag

Once the phone registers the tag it will pop up with a prompt to give the tag a name, this will give that tag a reference point of multiple different automations or just one depending on what you need. Typically you want to name it after the location or the job it is doing for you to reference again in the future.

Name of Tag

After you have saved the name the phone will open up into the Actions section so that you can add the different steps that you want this to activate. Again you can have a shortcut that you can run or you can open an application. These will always change based on what you need. Customize it to whatever you need and then hit save.

Add your Actions

From here you can just rinse and repeat for each different Automation you want to add. This is something that can be a game changer from a time saving stand point. Also, it can help prevent you or your staff from forgetting to do something during the day when you have multiple steps that can I all be automated.

What do you think would be a great way to use this for you and your store. Go and check out my Facebook page where you can comment on the post about this blog and let us know what you would do. Go check the link here and join in the conversation with other business owners like yourself.

Last but not least I am putting some links to shortcuts I use every day. These are both activated with NFC tags I have in my house and I don’t have to think about any of this when I go to bed or wake up.

Thanks so much for reading this and let me know what you think!

Examples of some of my Shortcuts I use daily

  • I’m Going to Bed
    • This Shortcut tells my phone to do these steps:
      • Turns on my alarms
      • Turns on Low Power Mode to reduce battery drain
      • Set Brightness to 0%
      • Set Volume to 100%
      • Turns on DND
  • I’m Awake
    • This Shortcut matches to going to bed one but in the opposite
      • Turns off my alarms
      • Turns off Low Power Mode to reduce battery drain
      • Set Brightness to 70%
      • Set Volume to 65%
      • Turns off DND

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