Meet an NFC innovator: Speech Code

Meet an NFC innovator: Speech Code

This blog series showcases the creative minds behind some of the most intriguing applications for Near Field Communication (NFC).

Richard Hopf, Founder of Speech CodeA

Richard was born in Linz, Austria, in 1964. He is a developer for Speech Code, an organization dedicated to barrier-free information access for all.

NXP: Tell us how you got involved with NFC.

Richard: I did my first RFID project in 2005, when I helped create a digital-content shopping system for the Austrian telecom company A1. It was the world’s first store with online shopping capabilities, and it won the Austrian Multimedia Award.

NXP: What does your application do, and how does it use NFC?

Richard: Not everyone can read what’s written on an object – either because they’re visually impaired or don’t have the right language skills – so we make it possible for objects to talk. With our solution, you can bring your smartphone close to an NFC speech tag, mounted on an object, and hear what the object has to say.

NXP: Why did you choose NFC?

Richard: Some of our Speech Codes can store up to 10 kB of speech, which is about 40 minutes of spoken word. For shorter scans, involving only a few minutes of spoken word, NFC is a good option. We use NFC in several industries, including tourism, where Speech Codes are marketed as “audio guides for everywhere.” NFC lets us store speech on an object without using a network, and, since most of the leading smartphones now have NFC capabilities, it’s a good choice for compatibility and usability.

NXP: What about security?

Richard: Speech Codes are used in the healthcare sector, where data privacy is key. NXP’s NTAGs support the safety standards specified by EU regulators.

NXP: Where do you see this going?

Richard: The number of NFC applications is going to go up, simply because so many smartphones are now equipped with NFC capabilities. Payment with NFC will become a daily routine. The big advantage for NFC is that its information is transported wirelessly, without requiring physical contact, over a very short distance. This makes NFC inherently secure.

One application I see really growing is self-identification. My home will recognize me and react to my presence with personal settings, the same way some cars can recognize a particular driver and adjust the seat to their favorite position. A smartwatch, equipped with NFC, could do the job letting a room know when I enter or exit.

speechcode writer

NXP: Tell us a bit about how you think. Would you rather live without your phone or your computer?

Richard: I would rather live without being connected, but I need my computer and smartphone to think.

NXP: What do you think has been the most important technological invention in human history?

Richard: Electricity.

NXP: If you weren’t in your current job, what would you do instead?

Richard: Sail the Mediterranean.

NXP: Excellent! Thanks for taking time to talk to us.

Related links:

Speech Code website:

RFID technology page:

More NFC innovator interviews:

Vanessa Lowe
Vanessa Lowe
Vanessa Lowe is a graduate student at Loyola Marymount University and currently interning in the Marketing and Communications department. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Loyola Marymount University and has been with NXP since May 2014. Having worked in both San Jose and Hamburg offices, Vanessa enjoys exploring the different uses of NFC technology and has been making easy-to-understand cartoon clips about the various uses of NFC chips.

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