Today at PICNIC, Violet announced that it is releasing a mass-market RFID reader. The Mir:ror will connect to your computer via USB. It will read RFID tags placed near it and can perform actions based on them. I am not sure that the mass-market is ready for an RFID reader, but I think this will one will make headway in the geek community.
Via the Mir:ror any RFID tag can be used to trigger information retrieval, an application to load or a file to open. For example a metro card can bring up traffic conditions to help you decide how to get to work in the morning — or anything else you assign it to do. Based on the screenshots there are a lot of actions that will be available at launch.
For objects that don’t have RFIDs (known within Violet as Nobjects) there are Violet supplied stamps (I think that we have found a razor-blades revenue model). Two examples used in the presentation were: apply a stamp to your umbrella and you could bring up the weather or apply a stamp to a bottle of prescription medicine and you can track when you take your meds. I might use it with my passport to bring up my future travel schedule. In an ideal world I could use it to inventory my bag before, during and after travel to make sure no gadget is left behind. Violet will also be partnering with companies so that their products are pre-configured (the example in the talk was a children’s book that could start an audio track).
The talk was high-concept, but from what I could tell upon reading an RFID tag client software will perform the requested action. It seemed however that most of the configuration would happen on the web. Like the Nabaztag, the Mir:ror will be a dumb-device and all the smarts will be on the computer. The Mir:ror will have an API (from what I could tell from the talk).
Violet is the company known for releasing the Nabaztag, the first-ever internet-connected Rabbit. The company strategy for connecting objects to the internet is simple:
* One: connect the Rabbits.
* Two: connect everything else.
Profit! is an unstated third part of the strategy. The Mir:ror is definitely a step towards completing this strategy.