Wij Inholland award 2019: NFC-Connext
"The digital business card"
NFC-Connext is an innovative and sustainable way to network. It’s a modern business card. Hold it against the phone of your new 'connection' and within seconds you’ve not only shared your contact details, but also websites, LinkedIn and other relevant information. An innovative idea from Douwe Reinders, Daniëlle Groen, Tijn Venniker and Joris Lycklama. Tijn: “We think NFC-Connext is a valuable 'giveaway' for companies.
The Connext uses wireless communication technology, called: Near Field Communication (NFC). The Connext is made of the completely degradable material PLA. This innovative and sustainable product replaces physical business cards.
A new way of networking. Why did you choose NFC?
Douwe: “A normal business card is static. The moment you switch numbers or jobs, your business cards are no longer current. You also don’t know whether your connection will keep and use your business card. Time for improvement. The Connext has a NFC chip. With NFC you can easily share data via your phone. Contact details, but also websites, photos and brochures. The possibilties are endless with this technology. We are now brainstorming what else we can do with it. Like a key ring with NFC, or even a coaster.”
Great innovation! How did you develope the Connext?
Tijn: “The first step was to make a prototype. We used a 3D printer in the Innovation Lab of Inholland Alkmaar. We then tested the prototype. How's the quality? Does it fit in your pocket?" Joris: "We also did market research. We asked as many people as possible from different target groups what they think of the product. For example, we went to the ING Business Boost exchange. Every single person there uses business cards.”
You became increasingly close as a group. How did the collaboration go?
Douwe: “Occasionally there’s frustration. For example, I commented on certain things without knowing the context of the story. That was embarrasing, but also a valuable lesson." Tijn: "We had to get used to working together. Sometimes you have to stop thinking about yourself and be more of a team player. We were able to learn this during the Jong Ondernemen project." Danielle: "We became very close. We now have more meaningful conversations. This also makes it easier to be more honest with each other. "
How could you improve as a group?
After a short silence ... Tijn: “It helps if we all react quicker when someone delivers work in the group. So we can speed up some processes." Danielle: "Being flexible is also important. Don’t get stuck in your own role, you have to support each other. As the only woman in the group, I certainly learned to stand my ground." Douwe smiles and winkes: "We can be quite feminine too." He goes on to say: "It's about managing emotions. You have to know where these emotions come from. Don’t be afraid to tell someone the truth and never go behind anyones back." Joris: "You have to be honest with each other. We all have the same goal."
When are you satisfied?
Joris: "When our product range grows and when the demand grows." Tijn: "I think I’m satisfied when I meet someone who says: "Hey, look at what I’ve got!" That would be so cool.”
What tips do you have for your fellow students at Inholland?
Tijn: “Make a prototype. You get a lot more ideas if you can actually see and feel the design. Then test the prototype and keep developing and testing it." Douwe: "It doesn't matter if you have a small budget. Even with very little money you can really make something fun." Danielle: "I notice that companies really enjoy working with the Connext." Douwe: "Everyone always says that your network is the most important thing. I understand that now. It provides insights, and through your netwerk you’ll fine more and more connections. Just ask!”
Wij Inholland gives students the opportunity to raise awareness for their projects. A platform on which they can distinguish themselves with an innovative and multidisciplinary project. This project should focus on either health, sustainability or creativity. Moreover, it should also add a regional value by working in close collaboration with a (local) company, institution or community. The winning team receives practical support and a € 2000, - cheque.