TazTag shows off the TazPad and NFC smart monitors at CES
Posted by Seth PlanckJanuary 25th, 2012 at 5:19 PM Filed Under Events, Galleries, Latest News, Videos
TazTag shows off the TazPad and NFC smart monitors at CES
It was last year at CES that a startup French firm called TazTag first showed of its TazPad NFC tablet concept. It wasn’t the firm’s first foray into NFC and, in fact, they were known in Europe for kiosks that supported NFC interactions and transactions. Since then, the TazPad production NFC tablet, with a helpful sprinkling of ZigBee, has been deployed to integrators and the orders just keep coming in according to executives at the firm. Of course, the fact that NFC can be read on both side of the device, its AuthenTec fingerprint scanner and its low price didn’t hurt its chances any. The fact that the TazPad was the first NFC tablet to hit the market globally also gave it a certain fame and a lot of coverage, including here on NFC Rumors.
However, at CES this year the firm had more to show off. Of course, the TazPad was front and center, but TazTag also had other products on show that were innovative and forward thinking to say the least. Before we tell you about them let us first reiterate how rare it is for an unknown company to not only design and produce a prototype tablet, but to then get it into production and actually deliver it to customers who have paid for it without the product turning into vaporware on the way. To make roads in an already over crowded market segment as aggressive as consumer electronics against behemoth OEMs like Samsung, Apple and Sony is nigh on impossible, yet TazTag appear to be doing very well. NFC may have given the firm an opportunity to shine, but it has been the sheer innovation that has kept the TazTag train running and investment money pouring in. In fact, one of the founders told NFC Rumors that the firm expects to reach profitability this year. We tipped TazTag for big things last year and we are sticking by it.
TazTag NFC kiosk monitors for specialized use cases
Okay, first up for the new products is an NFC monitor encased in black anodized aluminum with some all-in-one goodness going on. The firm makes full size NFC kiosks but they are large and get pricey. A TazTag customer asked the firm to develop smaller 23″ standalone monitors with VESA compliance that could run apps that use NFC. And so, the new product was born. In the video below you will see a simple transaction of contact details from a map on the monitors screen. This is showing dynamic information from a screen being interacted with from an active NFC reader / writer. Whereas the demonstration itself is pretty basic, imagine how this display could allow immersive interactions with ads, with videos or with other apps. We saw that the display was running Windows under the skin you see, but we are sure it could be configured to run other OS’ too, like Android. TazTag let us know that they have a 30″ version coming soon and can customize the display further. The display can be configured to even accept NFC payments for products and services.
We expect to see more and more interactive screens in store windows. We expect to see TV sets with NFC capabilities on board and even remote controls that then act as a bridge for NFC to connected TV sets. If you need a kiosk that you can set up quickly, that doesn’t take up a lot of space or that is inexpensive to any other NFC kiosk, you can’t go wrong with what TazTag showed off at CES. Ironically we could see the displays / all-in-one PCs with NFC connectivity being used at events like CES to give out brochures, press kits and register interest. Use cases are limited only by imagination.
TazTag TazPad NFC tablet
Use cases for NFC tablets in business are becoming more and more defined. It isn’t only stores that can benefit from a tablet that can conduct an NFC transaction. Swapping contact details, writing POS tags in store – the possibilities are endless. However, usually the B2B market worries about security in their devices and the TazPad, as we have mentioned plenty of times before, has that squared away also with the use of an AuthenTec fingerprint scanner. We grabbed some shots and a video of the TazPad in action. Check out our other articles featuring the TazPad on the right had side of this page for more information.
TazTag shows off ZigBee and biometric for payments
The piece of tech we liked most around the TazTag booth didn’t even feature NFC. Well, we have seen the TazPad a few times before and the display / all-in-one PC is very cool, but we are all about frictionless transactions and are suckers for anything that makes the whole process simpler. As you will know there are a lot of issues around NFC payments with mobile network operators attempting to hi-jack the industry and add charges to businesses. So, with that in mind other technologies are getting their chance to shine.
On a mobile basis an NFC smartphone is probably more frictionless for peer-to-peer payments still. But TazTag put together a product that works with ZigBee which for the uninitiated is a particular flavor of RFID with lots of encryption and security features built in for good measure.
In the demo we got from Michel Delaux, Co-Founder and International General Manager of TazTag, we saw how a card sleeve from a regular credit card could enable a transaction. However, a transaction could not happen without the use of a biometric fingerprint scan. We know ZigBee is pretty secure, but we aren’t sure whether there would be skimming issues with this particular transaction. For the moment, let’s assume that the transaction is secure and that card details are protected. This new use of RFID in a payment is absolutely frictionless.
We are seeing an early trend out there in which NFC is opening the gateway for RFID to become a consumer technology and within the next few years we expect to see smartphones that support NFC and other flavors of RFID. Whether that be ZigBee or ZWave or a yet to be published standard. RFID has a longer range than NFC. Home interactions in particular will be a popular use for this new technology in our pockets as we look to control our power consumption from mobile devices. As usual, TazTag is using concepts that are brand new and we can’t wait to see how the firm decides to go further down this path.
RFID has been around since the 1970′s and nearly exclusively been used for B2B. We expect it to enter the consumers’ world in a big way. Take a look at Google’s @home variant of RFID if you need more convincing. Over the next ten years, we will see a complete change in the way we interact with physical objects in our worlds. Cloud computing is becoming more everyday, devices are becoming connected and NFC and RFID are bring a level of connectivity and opportunities for interactions that were pipe dreams just a few years ago.
TazTag again showed us at CES that they are a firm to keep an eye on. Now we just can’t wait to see when TazTag enters the consumer market and what they may come up with using NFC and RFID.