The rationale behind TapNLink
The reasons for using TapNLink depend on your viewpoint:
- Managers of companies that produce the equipment.
- Users and end-owners
- Development teams that design the equipment
Reasons for managers
Limit investments and risks
TapNLink reduces amortization costs by its benefits to the development teams:
- Gain in development speed,
- Gain in simplicity,
- Avoid dispersions, the subjects are varied and complex: security, radio (NFC) etc. and are all pitfalls.
Reach a demanding market quickly
Users want it now. Mobile devices are becoming almost a part of humans. TapNLink drastically reduced "time to market" by:
- avoiding acquisition of specialized expertise,
- reducing development time and "incompressible times" (certifications,... ) by 10 fold,
- avoiding technological risks (security, antennas etc.).
Focus on your business
TapNLink separates business and connectivity thus avoiding wasted energy/investment in connectivity. Connectivity is a complex business that evolves very quickly. Maintaining the skills and test structures for future generations of radio technology, mobile devices and technologies is an uncertain path.
Get a better cost price
The increase in volumes and multiplication of markets will make it possible to manufacture at the lowest cost, and to amortize the "expensive depreciation costs" on higher volumes.
Reasons for users
A user-friendly and up-to-date solution
Human-Machine Interfaces ("HMIs") evolve "naturally" with mobile devices.
Electromechanical technologies (still the most widespread) have their limits. Touch screens exist on many products but are expensive, and never as pleasant to use as your mobile devices:
- Intense usage means that handling mobile applications has become 'natural' for most users
- Voice input (and soon Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality) can drastically improve "User Experience"
- Potential combinations with third party apps, APIs, (open) data... open many opportunities of innovation (for example in field servicing)
Most mobile apps use standard web technologies that are easy to develop. They can be multilingua and fit to any device (responsive design) and are easily adaptable to user profiles (end user, guest, maintenance, administrator...). Dynamic update of these apps from public or private app stores facilitates their deployment and scalability.
For new needs
The ease of implementation of mobile apps means that information and manipulations that were not previously considered costworthy, can now be considered.
For example, most households would not be interested in the internal temperature of their refrigerators, or cumulative electricity consumption as a function of temperature. But 'free' access to this information from your mobile phone may be interesting. Silent objects will have things to say if they are given the means to communicate.
Robust and maintainable solution
A radio module is much stronger and less complicated than a touch screen or electromechanical device.
For a healthy environment (radio, consumer,...)
Permanent exposure to radio waves (often 2.4GHz) can be harmful to some (electro-sensitive) people. The NFC + radio pairing only uses radio emissions when communication is established (following an awakening by NFC), thus eliminating waves and energy consumption when you are not communicating.
Reasons for technical teams
Combine interface and connectivity with the cloud
The connection to a local user can quickly be extended to a remote user or remote maintenance service. Multiple uses are then possible, for example, TapNLink can update its own firmware and Cortex-M-based applications in a secure way.
Perfect app/connectivity separation allows you to focus on your business
TapNLink separates the "business application" from connectivity features. A clear interface between these two areas avoids a complicated cohabitation: the configuration file is the interface and there is almost no intrusiveness from one world to another. This separation increases the reliability and maintainability of the products.
Avoid mastering complex technologies
TapNLink is a package of a dozen different areas of expertise: radio, NFC, antennas, Android, iOS, firmware update, security, access control, certifications, protocols... a good dozen areas whose control is a risky gamble. They are also "moving" technologies that require permanent and therefore expensive evolution.
Quickly master an environment that is globally complex
Mastering 10 complex technologies is one thing, but coordinating know-how and teams to work on a single product is another. Coordination is difficult to manage, even for large companies. The TapNLink removes this requirement.
Limit the risks
The probability of resolving problems in each area of expertise is 90% (from internal or external ressouces). But the chances of resolving 10 expert opinions is only 0.9^10 = 35%. TapNLink is an insurance against these risks.
Accelerate development with TapNLink
TapNLink saves development time by a factor of 10 or more, regardless of the starting point:
A PoC in a few minutes
TapNLink allows immediate implementation "without hardware or software modifications" on most embedded applications based on Cortex microcontrollers. For other architectures, it may take a few hours. The final integration of TapNLink may take several weeks, but will still save by a factor of 10 to 100 on the development time of an in-house solution.
Configuration, no programming
TapNLink is configured using minimum software interface on the target (source is provided or generated by IoTize Studio). Security, protocol management etc. and all connectivity software issues are handled by TapNLink.
Quick and easy integration
Optimization of mechanical aspects, wire connections (application) and the electromagnetic environment offers quality NFC and radio links.
Mobile is an asset
For decades, electromechanical and electronic components (switches, potentiometers, LEDs, capacitive keys,...) have been providing simple HMIs. They have their limits, especially when it comes to information:
- The LED display is binary.
- The static aspect makes it difficult to add secondary information that would rarely be used,
- These HMIs are not scalable and are generally complex to design.
- They are also difficult to maintain because they involve many components, sometimes designed specifically for the application.
Screens have recently appeared, but have limitations because multiplying the screens on all electronic devices is not optimal:
- Screens are expensive and their technology poses resource problems (indium oxide shortage).
- Custom-made screens require large volumes, and there is a risk of significant obsolescence for more standard screens.
- Graphics applications in an embedded environment are complex to develop.
Mobile devices can be considered either as a perfect interface or as a cheap addition (it is assumed that the user already has one), either way they are very practical:
- OS's are now standardized (Android and iOS),
- Development frameworks are numerous and powerful.
- The IoTize software suite includes an app generaor and APIs, so you can develop easily without worrying about the underlying communication protcocols, security and mechanisms to access to variables.