CommunicaME: A New Proposal for Facilitating Communication Using NFC

CommunicaME: A New Proposal for Facilitating Communication Using NFC

Montserrat Mateos Sánchez (Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain), Juan Agustín Fraile Nieto (Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain), Roberto Berjón Gallinas (Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain) and Miguel Ángel Sánchez Vidales (Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4373-4.ch005
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In a society that is clearly influenced by new technology, new advances in mobile technology have yielded important changes in the way users interact with information systems and contextual information. There is a need to provide technological solutions that help users communicate more easily. In this chapter, a novel solution that makes it easier for the elderly to use mobile phones is proposed. The senior population is rapidly growing; they represent 16-17% of the total population in developed countries. The use of a mobile device presents two large obstacles for this group: problems from disabilities due to age and problems associated with the lack of familiarity with mobile technology. The combined use of contactless technologies such as NFC and MiFARE eliminates the barriers encountered by older individuals. These technologies make it possible to use basic services of a mobile telephone, such as placing a call or sending a message, in a way that is easy, user friendly, and intuitive. The CommunicaME system makes it possible to place a call or send a SMS on a mobile by simply moving it closer to a contactless tag. The use of contactless technologies helps the user to carry out their daily tasks, and it also provides a new method of mobile communication that is both quick and secure. The results obtained with the defined and implemented prototype are presented in this chapter.
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Recent years the use of mobile telephony and mobile terminals has been widely integrated into modern society; they have seen an exponential growth that has surpassed 100 lines for every 100 inhabitants. Only in Spain had 109 lines for every 100 inhabitants (Comisión de Mercado de las Telecomunicaciones, 2010). Subgroups of the population, such as the elderly, are often excluded from accessing technological advances, primarily because of the barriers encountered in their use (del Arco Carabias & San Segundo Encinar, 2010; Al Mahmud, Mubin, Shaid, & Martens, 2008; Kurniawan, 2007).

One of the main problems for this subgroup are associated with the lack of familiarity with the mobile technology itself (Pavon & Casanova, 2006), although the difficulties experienced by these individuals are primarily derived by the actual characteristics of the terminals (small screens, shortcuts, touch screens, etc.).

If we consider that the subgroup of seniors is very high in all developed countries, this exclusion supposes a serious problem. Now in Spain the group of seniors citizens is already nearing 20% of the total population; also in a few years the number of people older than 65 in the United States will reach nearly 16% of the population; and in Asia, and specifically Singapore, it will reach nearly 18% within just over a decade (Keating, Nagai, Hadder, & Kowalsky, 2007; del Arco Carabias & San Segundo Encinar, 2010; Hix, 2011; Been-Lirn Duh, Yi-Luen Do, Billinghurst, Quek, & Chen Hsueh-Hua, 2010). So a high number of individuals could not use the most basic mobile services offered by the mobile devices, such as making a call or sending a message. Our society is concerned about the problems caused by the lack of adaptation to technological advances among seniors and programs are proposed to solve. For example, in Europe exits the AGE1 platform whose ambit of operation includes a component specific to TICs. Also Spain has the Advancement Plan2 that contains a proposal that would encourage the use of TICs (Information and Communication Technologies) among citizens aged 55 years and older.

This chapter presents a new proposal for facilitating the mobile communication for elderly. It is CommunicaME and it is a system that makes the communication more accessible through the use of a mobile telephone for senior citizens. For this subgroup of population, the simply task of writing a short message or searching the contact list for a telephone number is very complicate (Pavon & Casanova, 2006). The objective of this system is to provide a simple solution to this problem, and ensure that sub-groups of the population with difficulty adapting to mobile technology can place a call or send messages in a simple and intuitive way. This can be achieved by using contactless technologies such as NFC (Near Field Communication) (Roebuck, 2011; Finkenzeller, 2010), RFID and MiFare3. The combination of these technologies allows for the identification of objects and actions associated with these objects. A mobile device with NFC can identify an action that needs to be performed, such as sending a message or placing a call, by moving the mobile closer to an object containing an associated RFID or MiFare tag that represents these actions. Once the action has been identified, the same mobile device uses another MiFare tag to identify the person with whom one wishes to communicate.

In this chapter, in the next section, it is reviewed every area related with the project, such as, the problems that elderly have in accessing TIC; after that, it is described the contactless technologies used in this work as well as techniques for voice synthesis and recognition used to improve the accessibility of the system. Followed this, it is described the proposed solution and also it is explained a detailed presentation of the experiments that were carried out with the CommunicaME system with an emphasis on the results obtained. Finally, the conclusions are presented together on the innovative approach of this proposal.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Communication: We understand by mobile communication as the use of technology that allows us to communicate with others in different locations without the use of cables. Mobile communication makes our life easier, saves time and effort.

RFID: The technology of Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) refers to the use of radio frequency through a reader to detect and read information from a device commonly known as RF Tag or also known as “tag.” Unlike bar codes, RFID does not require a direct field of view between the RF tag and reader.

NFC (Near Field Communication): Is a protocol based on a wireless interface. Communication takes place between two entities. The protocol establishes a wireless connection between network applications and electronic devices. It works in the band of 13.56 MHz, this causes no restriction does not apply and does not require any license for use. In this protocol there is always one that initiates the conversation and it is this that will monitor the same, this role is interchangeable between the two parties involved.

Contactless Technology: Contactless technologies or short-range technologies, reach up to 10 cm, and are bidirectional transmission. A clear example of what these technologies are the contactless smartcards, or cards intelligent and Near Field Communication (NFC).

Mobile Services: They are the services associated with mobile technology. Mobile services allow you to have more features and greater interactivity between people.

Dependent Environment: A dependent is one who can not fend for themselves and need assistance. These people need to interact with a dependent environment adapted to their needs.

MiFARE: MIFARE is a technology contactless smart card. Typical reading distance is 10 cm. The reading distance depends on the reader module power, and there are readers of higher and lower range. MIFARE is the property of NXP Semiconductors.

Accessibility: Applied to the use of objects and technologies, and especially in relation to certain groups of people with functional difficulties, it means the benefits of interaction with the environment or other people. Accessibility enables people to participate in social activities for which designed the built environment.

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