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September 2021
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C-mii rings the changes for smarter working

When it comes to mobile communication, the loudest topic of conversation lately has been NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. Much of that buzz has focused on the ability of NFC to facilitate the ‘mobile wallet’, whereby handsets act as virtual debit cards, making instant payments when swiped near to NFC points in shops, transport hubs and venues.

While this is undoubtedly an intriguing development, with increasing numbers of outlets expected to become NFC-friendly over the coming months to encourage faster and more convenient transactions for consumers, some of the wider applications of NFC technology have not had the same level of attention.

This is unfortunate because, within public sector organisations, NFC has the potential to transform the day-to-day running of routine operations, promoting improved efficiency, faster communication and maximising productivity.

When placed in the hands of managers and employees, NFC-enabled mobiles can be coupled with strategically positioned ‘tags’ in a variety of locations, allowing users to automatically check in and out rooms or buildings, while simultaneously exchanging data in the form of real-time messages. This data could include an updated priority list, a new schedule of work or a request to move to another location.

In this way, NFC has the potential to transform the governance of areas such as time and attendance, workforce management and job scheduling. It can be particularly powerful where staff are working remotely, between numerous locations.

At the forefront of this transformation will be PayFones, a leading mobile technology specialist that has developed a range of low-cost NFC-enabled handsets called C-mii (pronounced ‘see me’). Having teamed up with a number of software partners to create bespoke solutions for a range of applications, the brand will be rolling out its technology into the public sector this year.

PayFones founder and CEO Chris Pay explains: -Most of the conversations around NFC have focused on its potential as a mobile wallet mechanism, and that will certainly be an important area for the C-mii range. But more widely, we view C-mii as a tool to support efficiency efforts, particularly in the public sector, where real-time data exchange could have an important role in addressing organisational issues.

-It’s important to point out that this doesn’t mean equipping staff with expensive smartphones. We’ve developed and manufactured a lightweight, robust and feature-rich range of NFC-enabled handsets that, by design, are very affordable. Our objective is to make NFC capabilities accessible to the widest possible range of people and organisations, so that they can benefit from this technology with only modest investment.”

The healthcare sector is seen as a potentially significant beneficiary of this technology, particularly in terms of domiciliary care. If district nurses, for example, were equipped with C-mii handsets, they could check in and out of particular patient locations, and receive updates on the treatment required, as well as any new scheduling information for their next assignment.

This would provide managers with live details of staff activity, creating a log of where they attended and what tasks were carried out, as well as opening up the possibility of staff being redirected or redeployed away from their original schedule.

The same capabilities could just as usefully be applied to staff such as porters and cleaners, not only in healthcare but in other areas too.

Having a real-time record of the location and movements of staff also has obvious security advantages.

Taking that to its next logical step, security staff have also been identified as potential beneficiaries of C-mii. When performing routine circuits to check the safety of key locations, for example, the meeting of a C-mii handset and tag would confirm which areas were attended and at what time.

-We’re already seeing major potential in areas such as domiciliary care, cleaning, portering, facilities management and security, all of which require central teams to keep track of the activities of staff who are moving around all the time and may need their schedules to be revised in line with changing circumstances, minute by minute or hour by hour,” says Pay. -The efficiency savings that could be derived from this approach are easy to see. But this is just the beginning. Our C-mii solution can touch many more areas of public sector life and we want to work alongside civil servants to create solutions that meet their evolving needs simply and effectively.”

PayFones specialise in the distribution of mobile handsets and the creation of bespoke, fully-branded mobile devices for some of the world’s best-known corporations.

Now, its market-leading C-mii range has been created to allow organisations to take early advantage of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology at an affordable price.

Commercial applications arise from the ability of C-mii to transmit and receive live information when in close proximity to NFC tags.

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