Is the equipment and machinery that you produce ready for the future?
When manufacturers build machines, whether for use in the home or in industrial settings, users today expect smart and user-friendly functionality. With tap2.cloud we offer exactly that to OEMs. Beyond simply labeling and identifying the machinery, tap2.cloud enables OEMs to integrate advanced, customizable functionality at only an incremental added cost. The result is a bounty of new functional options made accessible through the machinery, such as:
- Immediate access to product information and operating manuals in various languages
- Direct, frictionless contact and appointment setting for repair service
- Direct, on-the-spot ordering of matching spare parts and consumables
- Service logins for authorized technicians to access advanced device information
- And anything else the OEM can dream or invent
How does it work?
Near-field communication (NFC) technology enables a wireless connection over a short distance with any NFC-enabled smartphone. The new generation of smartphones does not even require an app to read (“tap”) an NFC tag. Users position the smartphone within a few centimeters of the tag, and the linked information will be displayed in the browser (more about the app in the “Software” section below).
NFC technology uses extremely power-efficient radio transmissions to communicate. Already used in many commercial applications, such as contactless payment, NFC brings the same basic functionality to consumer and industrial machinery.
The chips are passive and do not require an independent power source. Once activated, data can be retrieved seamlessly. Activation takes places via an NFC-Feeder, which registers every NFC tag in the cloud and makes it accessible.
We equip your custom HMI with NFC technology (retrofitting is possible). An NFC symbol on the user interface shows where the tag is located and can be accessed with a smartphone (tap = reading the NFC tag). Illumination of the NFC symbol can assist in identifying the tag even in difficult light conditions.
With this simple integration, you can very easily make your application fit for the future without the common hurdle of complex digitization projects. Because well-made control panels are often long-lasting, integrating a printed NFC tag can ensure that device functionality and user-friendliness can continue to evolve over its full lifespan, instead of falling behind. The content can be updated and exchanged from any location through our software, providing customers new services in real time.
The hardware alone is only part of the solution. Paired with the right software elements, NFCs can be genuinely transformative for OEMs, helping them to future-proof today’s products against tomorrow’s needs with only an incremental added cost.
The software side of the solution has three basic elements:
- Onboarding: We register your transponders via an NFC feeder in the cloud. The tags are then online and can be linked to content.
- Content: You determine what functionality you would like to offer via the integrated NFC tag. We provide the customer-specific web app with your logo and brand colors. Here you can store a digital nameplate (if required also according to DIN), operating instructions, instructional videos and documentation, a web shop, recall announcements and procedures, new product offer, and more.
- Monitoring: Real-time statistics are made available using a dashboard. Here you can get to know your customers even better and put new measures in place.
In short, the tag opens the door to communicating with the cloud. The end-user can access any information the manufacturer/operator wants to make available through the cloud and/or perform other functions as defined by the manufacturer or operator. In turn, the manufacturer can potentially generate and access a wealth of user data and tailor services to its users.
Where can you use tap2.cloud?
The NFC tag is printed, so it can be integrated into new designs or retrofitted into existing control panels with equal ease. It’s perfect for:
- Getting a first experience with IoT. Rather than completely linking the machine or equipment with sensors, start with a simple tag.
- Enhancing almost any piece of equipment, machinery, or product being manufactured.
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In our next article, we’ll do a deep dive into the creative ways tap2.cloud can provide specific benefits for end-users and competitive advantages for manufacturers and service technicians. To learn more about how tap2.cloud might fit into your products, contact us today.
Further areas of application for tap2.cloud can be found through our sister company HK.SYSTEMS – provider of holistic IoT solutions.
To find out how you can quickly and easily add connectivity to your control panels, take a look at tap2.cloud – IoT Made Simple!
Technical wordsmith and guest blogger for Hoffmann + Krippner.