Yes! It's the NFC phone-bonk doorbell app AT LAST

Knock? Use your phone to call? NO, SCAN the TAG damn you


Home owners too lazy to answer the doorbell can relax as the latest innovation from Doorbl puts visitors in touch via a smartphone tapped to the door.

The app, available for Android and iOS, links a Near Field Communication tag to a cloud service which lets one know when a visitor is on the doorstep. This assumes the visitor has a smartphone with NFC and a working data connection, with coverage, and is prepared to combine these facilities, rather than just knocking on the door with the Mk.1 knuckle.

The humble doorbell might be considered a UX design classic. Wireless connectivity might be all the rage these days, as drilling holes is harder with modern doorframes turning plastic, but the basic single-button interface remains something with which most people are familiar.

Doorbl doesn't exclusively rely on NFC. Visitors can instead scan a QR Code sticker affixed to the frame (stop laughing at the back), but they'll still need a smartphone. The home owner needs the app installed to receive the pushed messages, and can then call the visitor back: assuming said visitor has filled in the online form with their mobile number.

NFC World spoke to Roy Solberg who developed the app, apparently because his girlfriend couldn't get to the door in time and wanted to send visitors a "please wait" message. One has to wonder if such impatient visitors are going to bother filling in their phone number on the doorstep.

Should they not bother, having decided that digging out their phone, scanning the QR Code and waiting for a data connection is, frankly, too much to bother with, then our home owner will just have to open the door to find out who's there - or shout. Shouting often works, in Vulture Central's experience.

There are alternatives. Various camera systems can offer the homeowner a view of the visitor, and the rather-more-subtle Smartbel will call one's mobile while pretending to be an intercom system, so one's visitor believes one is at home but too impolite or lazy to bother coming to the door.

But those cost money, (a hundred quid for Smartbel, or even more for battery-operated Wi-Fi doorbell Doorbot), while Doorbl is free if one tolerates the adverts. Doorbl has the added advantage of ensuring one is never at home when poor people (who lack smartphones) come calling. ®

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