Near Field Communication is a wireless technology that establishes radio communiation between smartphones and any similar devices equipped with the capability simply by touch (or, generally, bringing them into close proximity – no more than a few centimeters). If you have an Android phone, then you've probably already played around with what NFC is capable of; most iPhone users probably aren't familiar with it, at all, since we probably won't ever see NFC in our phones, ever. As of now, NFC is used to enable quick payments or transactions simply by waving the phone in front of merchant readers, but there are certainly many different ways in which the technology can be used; particularly, NFC can be useful in terms of tracking people in an indoor space.
Flomio is a Miami-based startup that is helping people to make it easy to build or adopt NFC-enabled applications. The company provides various hardware, software, and services to small businesses, equipping them with NFC solutions, especially with regards to indoor tracking. When it comes to NFC technology, Flomio is hoping that its wide range of products (and the flexibility with which their products can be used) will make them a leader in this industry.
“What we're trying to do is solve the indoor location problem – that applies to a whole set of different industries. [Flomio's] focused on having properties in each of these spaces,” says Richard Gundy, co-founder and CEO of Flomio. Mainly, the company is looking into providing solutions that allow businesses to track the indoor activity of their customers – whether that be at a concert or within a grocery store.
For example, the NFC technology that Flomio provides can allow a local grocer to set up NFC-ready coupons or savings offers placed around the store that customers can collect on their phones. This allows business owners to not only track, say, a store's most frequented product aisles, but also which products consumers are most interested in. For music festivals, NFC can be used for ID purposes and thereby control access to certain things (such as alcohol). The company also works on custom projects based on a company's individual needs, whether that be tracking employees or knowing how guests are navigating their space.
Flomio is able to provide and implement these different indoor tracking solutions to their clients because they've got the hardware and software to support such functions. On top of offering NFC-enabled tags and readers, the company has mobile applications and a web infrastructure that allows users to interact with the physical space through their phones, as well as allow businesses to engage with consumers through the Web. What's most unique about the company, though, is that it has actually created hardware that enables NFC on Apple devices. “We're just trying to offer [our customers] with a breadth of indoor tracking solutions. Our [hardware, software, and services] really help to provide that flexibility.”
Flomio was most recently featured at Tech Cocktail's Miami Mixer & Startup Showcase.