This past week at the WIMA NFC Monaco conference, Nokia pushed new applications designed to help users and developers take advantage of the short range near field communications (NFC) chips built into modern smartphones (including much of the Nokia Lumia line). NFC chips allow devices to quickly share information at close range. Today, the technology is included in nearly every high end smartphone like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4, and Nokia’s Lumia 920. The technology is also beginning to move into more mainstream places like 7-Eleven and McDonalds. Both use the technology as a basis for payments with NFC-enabled credit cards and mobile devices.
The first of the new applications Nokia is featuring is NearSpeak, which allows Windows Phone 8 users to record and embed audio messages on small NFC tags. Since NFC storage tags don’t have enough built in space for storing audio, NearSpeak uses speech recognition to convert that audio users would like to record into text for storing on an NFC tag. Once the NFC tag is activated, that text is then converted back to audio using the speech capabilities built into the NearSpeak app. Should the Windows Phone that activated the NFC Tag use a different language, the application will then translate the audio message for that user.
Users who attempt to activate the NFC tag but don’t have the application installed will be prompted to do download it. Users looking to get more use out of the app’s translations features will need to purchase translation packs at a cost of $1.99 for 100 translations to $4.99 for 350 translations. NearSpeak for Windows Phone 8 devices is free from the Windows Phone Store.
In addition to showing off NearSpeak, Nokia also took the opportunity to showcase some of the latest NFC enabled applications for Windows Phone 8. These included the updated version of Vimeo, the video service, for Windows Phone 8. Using the application’s 1.3 update allows users who have Windows Phones with NFC to share videos directly with each other.
Nokia also showed of GoMcDo, an exclusive NFC enabled application for fast food restaurant McDonalds. With the app, those attending WIMA could order food from their Nokia Lumia devices and have it delivered. GoMcDo is already available in France, and will be updated with these NFC capabilities this summer.
In addition to its WIMA NFC Monaco, the NFC advocacy organization is holding an event in the United States. WIMA NFC USA is slated for October 2013 and will be held in San Francisco, California.