This blog series showcases the creative minds behind some of the most intriguing applications for Near Field Communication (NFC).
Karl Pletschko is the CEO at Mopius Mobile Technology in Vienna, Austria. Mopius’ new project, Traces, uses NFC technology to track and change commuting habits around Vienna.
NXP: When did you first consciously get into contact with NFC?
I first came across NFC many years ago at the NFC Congress, at the University of Applied Science Hagenberg. Professionally, at Mopius, it’s always been a part of our strategy to focus on proximity technologies. NFC is obviously part of that family.
NXP: Tell us about your current project.
Put simply, Traces combines available technologies in an intelligent way to stimulate people to change their habits. Traces is an app that uses games and challenges to track how people commute, whether it’s by public transport, bike, walking, etc. It uses gamification principles to stimulate people to change commuting habits. We have a mobile app that generates the tracks, and sends users Quests. Quests need to be solved to gain points, and the points are part of the gamification principles of the app. Solving the Quest needs to be done offline, whether it’s an NFC check-in or a geo-fence check-in. NFC was used to simplify the check-in functionality and as part of the Quests.
NXP: How did you come up with the idea for Traces?
It was part of a research project that we did together with other companies and universities, studying how we can engage customers/users within a game and utilize a simple technology.
NXP: How did the public respond to the project?
Traces began as an invitation-only project, with about 250 participants in Vienna. No personalized data was stored, so participants were anonymous and their data secure. Feedback was really positive, and it wasn’t too difficult to get them to participate since our prizes were very attractive. After enough points, the person could win a hoody with a personalized tracking map printed on it.
NXP: Why did you choose NFC?
NFC offers the possibility to automate certain processes, and there is no easier way to engage customers than by just tapping a tag.
NXP: Are you working on a next-gen version?
Traces formed initially as a research project, and we’re currently going through the evaluation process. At this point, we’re not sure if or when another version will be available.
NXP: How do you see NFC and applications like yours evolving long term?
I personally love NFC as it is an underestimated technology which offers a lot of different possibilities. The main problem I see is that users need more education on NFC- what it means for them and how they can benefit from it.
NXP: Hopefully interviews like yours will help people understand NFC more! If you weren’t in your current job working with NFC, what would you do instead?
Something totally different- I would run a fishing business!
NXP: Wow, that certainly is different! Thanks for taking your time to talk to us.
Thank you! And thanks for helping proximity technologies grow.