Why the Privacy Coach runs on NFC

November 11, 2010

Today someone asked me why the Privacy Coach is built on NFC while all stores use EPC tags that are UHF? As a result, the Privacy Coach is of limited practical use.

There are actually two reasons for that.

First, the purpose of the demo is to show the potential application of mobile devices to help protect your privacy, in particular a Privacy Coach that helps people to manage their privacy in a world full of RFID tags. Mobile phones are the natural choice as a platform because they are protable and quite personal devices, that you carry with you all the time. Unfortunately, the only RFID interface supported by (actually a quite limited set of) mobile phones is NFC.

Second, it provides a glimpse of the future. It shows that new applications of mobile phones in the Internet of Things are possible, if only mobile phones and EPC tags could communicate with each other. Thus the Privacy Coach also serves as an incentive for either EPC to move to HF (the frequency used by NFC), or for NFC to accept UHF. Actually EPC is considering such a move to HF.

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