Overview  -  Viability  -  Adoption  -  Success Factors  -  Projections  -  References Presentation


Emerging Technology - RedTacton

What is RedTacton?

RedTacton is a technology that bridges the last networking gap, creating the HAN – Human Area Network, connecting the last meter.  It works by utilizing the electric field on the surface of the human body to transmit data between a RedTacton receiver and other devices.  Data can be transmitted at up to 10 mbps.  According to Technology Review, the “transceiver combines an optical receiver circuit equipped with a super-sensitive photonic electrical field sensor and a crystal to transmit data.”

Currently, RedTacton is gearing up to compete with Bluetooth, Zigbee, IrDA (infrared data association), UWB (ultra wide band), and other wireless communication forms.  These competing technologies are different in that they use radio frequency or light to transmit data short distances.  They also tend to work at slower speeds that RedTacton which, as mentioned before, uses the body’s electrical field to transmit at a high speed.  Additionally, since RedTacton requires touch and has a low potential for interference, it it much more secure than the competition.

NTT, the developer of RedTacton, has recently begun to try and commercialize the technology.  As reported on Gizmodo (02/25/2008), the technology is currently being marketed as a way to turn a human into a swipe card.  Instead of carrying access cards or wearing a wireless device, people would wear their RedTacton device and touch the doors or filing cabinets or other objects which would receive the security clearance from the device.  It would be more secure than traditional swipe cards, keys, or wireless signals.

What does it do?

When using a RedTacton device, the human body effectively becomes an Ethernet cable, so the body can use its electrical field to connect devices to networks or the internet.  For example, if a person wearing a RedTacton device sat at a table with RedTacton capabilities that was connected to the Internet, the laptop would immediately be connected to the internet.  While on the surface this seems similar to a wireless network connection, it is not.  There is a physical connection, the person.  Also, the connection is more secure and does not slow down if many people are using the same connection, as a wireless connection does.  --More--

How is it useful?

Many areas can benefit from this technology.  Initially, RedTacton could target security, the medical field, and the device communication field.  The medical field would benefit in many ways.  For example, implanted devices could use the technology to transmit information regarding their performance to doctors, patients wearing the device could quickly and securely transmit their medical history, and medicine containers could have chips embedded in them that when touched could send an alarm to the user, if the user’s device is programmed to know that an allergy to the medicine exists.  Device communication is where RedTacton would compete with Bluetooth.  Since RedTacton is more secure that Bluetooth, it would excel at connecting cell phones to headsets and transmitting data from one person’s PDA to another’s.  As mentioned before, RedTacton is already positioning itself to become a ‘human swipe card’ and become the ultimate security device.  One potential application that will be explored in depth is gun control. -- More --

Why aren't we using it?  What are the obstacles?

While RedTacton may be a superior technology, adoption could be slow since Bluetooth and other radio technologies are already entrenched.  Like those products, RedTacton will become more valuable as it is adopted.  If there is nothing for a person’s RedTacton device to talk to, it is essentially useless.  Also, initially, it will be comparatively expensive.  If security applications take off, particularly in the military field, it maybe years before the technology becomes available to consumers.  It does, however, have to potential to disrupt the Bluetooth market, since it is more secure and works at much higher speeds.  On the medical side, however, it may create a new market.  As far as security applications are concerned, it could be disruptive because it is such a secure way to communicate.  Radio swipe cards are much easier to manipulate than a RedTacton human swipe card.  Again, the biggest hurdle will be convincing consumers that the product is worth the premium that will be charged because it seems, on the surface, to be so similar to technologies that are already available.  Explaining why it is more secure and more efficient could be a challenge.  Management will need to seriously consider how it will be marketed and hire excellent marketing people to promote the product.  They will also need to find partners to share in the cost of development.   -- More --

Dianne Brotherson, Wendy Beatty, Rachel Corron - MIS 535 - Telecommunications Management


Overview  -  Viability  -  Adoption  -  Success Factors  -  Projections  -  References