is an online Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) service that enables developers
and Web-savvy consumers to create innovative one-touch applications which connect everyday objects with online applications.
touchatag offers developers
access to all the tools they need to create and promote their innovative applications, including a SOAP
API (Simple Object Access Protocol application programming interface), an application store, and a Web site that can be used to promote the creations.
Anthony Belpaire, General Manager of the touchatag venture for Alcatel-Lucent believes that all the elements are now in place for developers to readily create innovative contactless applications.
“These APIs blend the security of the network with the creativity of the Web to deliver new unique user experiences and services,” Belpaire said.
Central to the touchatag service is the touchatag Application Correlation Server (ACS (News
)) which manages the link between a tag and a corresponding action to be initiated. When an RFID enabled device touches the RFID tag, it automatically connects with the touchatag ACS, which in turn directs the Internet-enabled device to access the appropriate online content and applications.
The touchatag Developer Network
was created to address a simple and well understood fact; namely that no team of developers could ever hope to create every possible application that would make use of touchatag. Rather, according to developer relations manager Ted Haeger, “The community exists to provide developers with economic opportunities and programming interfaces so that third party innovation can run far and wide.”
Haeger believes that, “…a well run developer program fosters mutual success and prosperity between its sponsoring company and the third-party developers who integrate with the company’s services.”
Speaking of prosperity, the market opportunity for savvy developers who can create innovative, sticky applications is growing.
Analysts estimate that the market for RFID network, software and services will increase over a five-year period from around $1 billion in 2008 to over $6 billion in 2013 (IDTechEx). Strategy Analytics (News - Alert) projects that in 2012 around 250 million NFC phones will be sold and that in 2017 over 1 trillion RFID labels will be tagged. According to ABI Research (News - Alert), the RFID market is expected to generate $9.7 billion by 2013.
The research points to an ever increasing acceptance (on the part of consumers) of mobile advertising, especially if it has personalized contextual value to the consumer, and offers some measure of control and interactivity.
The touchatag developer Web site features access to the API, together with sample applications and example code to get started. The community also features a collaborative element designed to foster creativity by offering developers a simple way to share their ideas
There are several showcase applications currently posted on the touchatag developer site
. One interesting example of utilizing the touchatag solution is the MyTeamWork application that was developed by Alcatel-Lucent. MyTeamWork is a conferencing, collaboration and presence tool, which combined with the utility of touchatag enables the support of new communication flows.
For example, a user can scan a tagged product to request additional product information such as nutrition data, warranty statements, and the like, but if she wishes, she can be called right away by the customer care center via MyTeamWork.
The solution would also work well in the case of a smart poster, whereby a user can touch the tag and receive an SMS coupon, bring up a Web page or initiate a call-back.
Another example that is showcased on the touchatag developer site is an application called Air Graffiti. This innovative use of the touchatag solution enables the creation of a context-aware city guide by tagging various monuments and other places of interest. By integrating with Google maps, developers can create a truly revolutionary application designed to inform and entertain visitors to a particular city.
This application was created by a team at IBBT, which is associated with the University of Brussels.
Lastly, an application called Digital Bag, which is a touchatag showcase app, illustrates how to enhance a visitor experience at an event or an exhibition. By touching the entrance badge at a booth, the visitor requests additional info which will be posted on his personalized event page for later perusal or download.
touchatag provides the opportunity for event organizers to extend the reach of physical events to online participants to enhance educational value, connect interested parties, and create affinity-driven customer data.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, as application developers can easily and quickly deploy countless applications, limited only by their collective imagination.
Greg Galitzine is editorial director for TMC’s (News - Alert) IP Communications suite of products, including TMCnet.com. To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
touchatag provides a starter kit, which packages a single USB NFC reader and 10 NFC tags. A refill package of 25 tags is also available from the touchatag e-store
. The solution works with any certified NFC tag or reader, including mobile NFC phones, NFC peripherals, and NFC terminals.
Edited by Greg Galitzine