What if I told you that Internet-of-things (IoT) data acquisition using NFC technology could be explained by a creature buzzing outside your window right now?

When it comes to legacy industrial systems, it is estimated that 50-70% are not connected to any network. There is no IoT data acquisition process to share or transmit their data and no intuitive interfaces. Organizations cannot gather and analyze data and are prevented from deploying new IoT-related services, such as remote support, diagnostics and maintenance. Additionally, the machines have long lifespans and are complicated and expensive. Redesigning industrial systems would put a halt on manufacturing and take a lot of time — a cost too large for many manufacturers.

To find a solution, let’s look to nature. Bees are the original experts at data acquisition. Think about it: hundreds of drones fly out to different flowers, collect their nectar, and bring it back to their Head of Operations — the hive. They are focused, lightweight and effective. This process keeps our flowers blooming.  Bees are essential to keeping the “network of nature” running smoothly.

We can take inspiration from bees when thinking of the potential benefits of NFC technology for IoT data acquisition in industrial systems. For example, we have learned never to underestimate the value of a connected network.  Just like a hive relies on its workers to get things done, NFC technology can be used to perform IoT data acquisition on legacy industrial systems without the long and costly process of redesigning the systems themselves.

Download NFC Forum Whitepaper: Connecting The Unconnected, The Unique Power  Of NFC In IoT Data Acquisition

How does this work? Well, one solution, for instance, is based on using a connectivity module with a co-processor that supports NFC and is directly connected to the debug port of a system’s microcontroller. It is also connected to the microcontroller debug port of a product’s embedded electronic system. In short, NFC technology is used to connect all parts of the system into one harmonious, connected whole. This can then be accessed with an NFC-enabled smartphone, thanks to NFC’s one-tap technology. The owner of the smartphone then has the whole “hive” and its data at their fingertips and can upload it to the cloud if desired

This easy-to-use system has the potential to serve many functions for industrial systems. For example, system installers can use their smartphones to create a specific machine configuration quickly and easily. With one quick NFC tap, the configuration data is transferred to the machine. A verification system then double checks the configuration, and the process is recorded for the manufacturer. Another helpful feature is industrial system maintenance and monitoring. In an NFC-compatible monitoring system, if an alarm goes off, a technician can connect NFC to the corresponding machine and correct the problem via the NFC interface.

Just like the network of a beehive, NFC systems are based on a blueprint that puts the security and success of the system first. Overall, this approach is easy to implement, saves energy and reduces data collection errors– all without having to replace the legacy industrial systems that have worked successfully for years. We are sure that shortly many legacy industrial systems will be “abuzz” with this IoT data acquisition technology and solutions.

Download NFC Forum Whitepaper: Connecting The Unconnected, The Unique Power Of NFC In IoT Data Acquisition