Does NFC Marketing Miss Apple ?

NFC Marketing is on hold. That’s the general opinion of most industry watchers. Let’s consider whether the argument is justified.

NFC Marketing Campaigns
It’s often been said that the real benefit of running and NFC marketing campaign at the moment is more from getting the PR associated with running it rather than the direct benefit.

Some of the earlier integrated campaigns such BMW’s magazine advertising were really nothing more than a gimmick. The ‘novelty’ effect being the main purpose.

There’s a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the consumers awareness of NFC outside payments (and arguably even within payments) is almost not existent. There just haven’t been that many campaigns. The campaigns that have run haven’t been consistent with branding or instruction. In Europe, aside from a few bus stops, there’s just not enough going on to raise awareness.

Clearly, this is chicken and the egg. You can’t raise awareness without running campaigns but you can’t run campaigns because there’s no awareness. And which advertiser is going to spend money unless there’s results either directly from the response or via the associated PR.

The second reason is that many of the campaigns that have run aren’t suitable. Let’s be honest – are you going to stand at a bus stop waving your phone in front of a billboard ? NFC isn’t going to work like that and when advertisers don’t get a response, they write off the whole medium.

The Apple Effect
And then there’s the Apple effect. This is how it works. An NFC marketing company, outdoor ad network or similar walks into an ad agency. They make a presentation that NFC is this great technology that can connect a physical space or object seamlessly to the internet. An Android phone is used to do a demonstration and all the ad agency people are amazed. It’s magic.

Then they want to have a go themselves, get out their brand new iPhones to test and suddenly discover the problem.

The problem here is not so much that NFC doesn’t work with the iPhone. The problem is that you have to explain to iPhone users that NFC isn’t going to work. NFC is designed to create a positive brand awareness and if the user is standing (or sitting) there waving their phone and there isn’t a response, you get a negative brand experience. The net effect is worse than doing the campaign at all. The option of explaining who can and who can’t use the NFC experience would take more ad space than any creative director is going to accept and who’d pay attention to it anyway ?

So the ad agency consider that up to 40% of their US market and say 20-30% of their European market can’t scan or will get a negative experience and that’s the end of that. Or is it ?

Market Segmentation
Back in 1984, Apple was the brand that you bought into if you wanted to stand up against the corporate monster. Around that time, that was IBM and Microsoft. Now, of course, Apple would like you to think it’s Google.

But that’s not really the case – particularly with mobile phones. Apple is no longer the edgy brand, the outsider trying to fight against the industry standard. A large part of this is reflected in the price of the product which has moved from aspirational to simply expensive.

Within the all important Millennials age group (18-35), split on Android vs. iPhone usage is roughly 50/50. However, within certain defined market segments, Android is becoming the OS of choice (albeit by default). For example, data from CivicScience reported on Forbes suggests a substantial 50% uplift in Android usage among techies. It also defines a lift for Android within drinkers, which would certainly play into the hands of Malibu’s recent NFC campaign !

The Reality
Ultimately, the reality at the moment is that reaching those defined sectors where Android (or Samsung) is the preferred choice isn’t easy. The likelihood is that in the next year or so we aren’t going to see any significant NFC advertising campaigns. We would also argue that unless the segmentation between Android and iPhone users becomes more defined, that NFC marketing is going to remain a highly niche option.


EM4200 is a CMOS integrated circuit intended for use in electronic Read Only RF transponders. It is designed to replace seamlessly the EM Microelectronic-Marin Read Only ICs EM4100/4102 and EM4005/4105.

The circuit is powered by an external coil placed in an electromagnetic field and gets its master clock from the same field. By turning on and off the modulation current, the chip sends back the unique code contained in a factory pre-programmed laser ROM.

The 128 bit unique code is stored in laser programmed ROM. Several options are available to use 64, 96 or 128 bits of ROM.

The IC offers also different resonant capacitor versions,selectable by mask option (0pF, 75pF and 250pF) providing the same reading performances to ensure seamless replacement.


The new NTAG 413 DNA chip adds cryptographic authentication using what NXP are calling ‘Secure Unique NFC’ or SUN. This generates a secure one-time authentication code each time the NFC tag is tapped.

This is an important feature. Most secure NFC operations at this point required the mobile phone to have a pre-installed App for authentication. The App, typically on an Android phone, would access either a password protected, encrypted area or a secure area of the chip and use this information to confirm that the tag was indeed what it claimed to be.

By using a unique generated code each time the tag is tapped the NFC chip can include this dynamically into a URL (web address) on the tag. Therefore, the NFC authentication can happen over a standard web connection removing the requirement for a pre-installed App. Perhaps the easiest way to understand this process is that it’s similar to one of those bank key cards that generate a new number each time you log in.

To an extent, this isn’t new – chip manufacturer HID have had their Trusted Tag NFC product for some time. However, NXP appear to have built the framework for this around their popular, high performance and easy to use NTAG product. This is likely to allow faster market penetration and easier access to the inlay tags themselves.

What is EPC Gen 2?

Gen 2 is the shorthand name given to EPCglobal’s second-generation EPC protocol. It was designed to work internationally and has other enhancements such as a dense reader mode of operation, which prevents readers from interfering with one another when many are used in close proximity to one another.

How does the EPC work?
The EPC (electronic product code) is a string of numbers and letters, consisting of a header and three sets of data partitions. The first partition identifies the manufacturer. The second identifies the product type (stock keeping unit or SKU) and the third is the serial number unique to the item. By separating the data into partitions, readers can search for items with a particular manufacturer’s code or product code. Readers can also be programmed to search for EPCs with the same manufacturer and product code, but which have unique numbers in a certain sequence. This makes it possible, for example, to quickly find products that might be nearing their expiration date or that need to be recalled.
Why is EPC technology important?
EPC technology could dramatically improve efficiencies within the supply chain. The vision is to create near-perfect supply chain visibility—the ability to track every item anywhere in the supply chain securely and in real time. RFID can dramatically reduce human error. Instead of typing information into a database or scanning the wrong bar code, goods will communicate directly with inventory systems. Readers installed in factories, distribution centers, and storerooms and on store shelves will automatically record the movement of goods from the production line to the consumer.
How can a company track items using EPCs?
Companies have to create a network of RFID readers. In a warehouse for example, there could be readers around the doors on a loading dock and on every bay. When a pallet of goods arrives, the reader on the dock door picks up its unique license plate. Computers look up what the product is using the EPC Network. Inventory systems are alerted to its arrival. When the pallet is put in bay A, that reader sends a signal saying item 1-2345-67890 is in bay A.

What is difference between the ATA5567 and the T5557 LF technology?

ATA5567, designed for use in low-frequency cards and key fobs for access control in office buildings, hospitals, animal management and the like, complies with the ISO 11784 and 11785 FDX-B standards. The ATA5567 is more stable than its predecessor T5557 chip, to which the ATA5567 is backward-compatible. The ATA5567 measures less than 1 square millimeter and operates between 100 and 150 KHz.the. The ID enables the retraceability of the product in case of problems with illegal duplicates or counterfeiting and prevents unauthorized access to secured areas.

TK4100 cards

The TK4100 card is based on SMC4100 IC connected with a few laps, which are then embedded into plastic. No batteries required. This card is read-only, 40-bits unique number in the Manchester code. TK4100 is compatible with EM4100. These cards are primarily used in access control applications and other identity authentication.

• Model : TK4100
• Protocol : 125KHz EM4100 Compatible
• UID : 40 bits
• Material : PVC
• Temperature : -20° – +50°
• Dimension : 85.6 × 54 × 0.86 ( mm )

The NFC Tag Types

In addition to the signaling technologies used by near field communication technology,including NFC TAG Type 1, type 2 nfc tag,NFC TAG Type 3,NFC TAG Type 4 exist. Tag types refer to the speed and compatibility between an NFC tag and NFC readers, and the roles define how active and passive devices respond during a NFC communication. Most often a URL will be embedded in a NFC tag. URLs take up only a small amount of memory, lowering the production cost of the NFC tags since many are placed on posters or other items that are thrown away later on. NFC tags can, however, hold nearly any type of information, though more memory costs more money.

NFC Tags let you perform various kinds of information-related tasks. For example, you can use a tag to store information on various topics at a kiosk. Each tag has specific functionality that lets you use the tag for particular tasks. NFC currently works with the following four tag types:

NFC TAG Type 1:
The NFC Type 1 tag is the simplest of the offerings. It’s also the slowest chip, but because of the simplicity it offers, you can stuff more memory on this chip. Because these tags are simple, they also tend to be inexpensive, but they can lack functionality you might need for some applications.Type 1 NFC tags have data collision protection and can be set to either read and rewrite capable or read-only. Read-only programming prevents the information from being changed or written over once embedded in the tag. Type 1 tags have 96 bytes of memory, enough for a URL or a small amount of data. The tag’s memory can expand to a larger size as needed. The low price makes type 1 tags to ideal choice for most near field communication needs.

The typically Application :tags used for the following types of applications:
One time provisioning
Read-only applications
Business cards
Pairing devices with Bluetooth
Reading a specific tag when more than one tag is present

NFC TAG Type 2:
Type 2 NFC tags also have data collision protection and can be rewriteable or read-only. They start at 48 bytes of memory, half of what the type 1 tags can hold, but can expand to be as large as a type 1 tag. Communication speeds are the same for tag types 1 and 2.
The Type 2 tag tends to be the most popular offering because it provides just enough functionality at the right price to meet a wide range of needs. The Type 2 tag is also faster than the Type 1 tag, so you can rely on it for applications in which a user expects nearly instant communication. You typically see these tags used The typically Application:
Low-value transactions
Day transit passes
Event tickets
URL redirects

NFC TAG Type 3:
Also equipped with data collision protection, NFC tag type 3 has larger memory and faster speeds than tag types 1 and 2. This tag is part of the FeliCa system. The bigger size lets it hold more complex codes beyond URLs, but it costs more to create each tag.The Type 3 tag relies on a different standard than the other tags in this group. The Sony FeliCa tag is a Japanese innovation and sees wide use in Asia. This is a sophisticated tag that provides a wide range of functionality but also comes with a relatively high price tagtypes of applications:
typically Application:

Transit tickets
Electronic ID
Membership cards
Health care devices
Home electronics

NFC TAG Type 4:
Type 4 NFC tags can use either NFC-A or NFC-B communication and have data collision protection. The tag is set as either rewritable or read-only when manufactured and this setting cannot be changed by the user, unlike the other NFC tags which can be altered at a later date. The tag holds 32 Kbytes in memory and has faster speeds than the other tags.
In addition to the four tag types, four modes of operation exist. The modes – reader/writer, card, initiator, and target – describe what role a device or tag is playing in an NFC transaction. Devices can switch between more than one role depending on the transaction being processed. The Type 4 tag offers the most flexibility and memory of all the tags. It comes with a moderate to high price tag, depending on the amount of memory you get. The most important reason to get this tag is security: It offers the functionality needed to perform true authentication. In addition, this is the only tag that provides support for ISO 7816 security. It also allows for self-modification of NDEF content. Given the extra capability that this tag provides, you typically see it used for transit ticket applications.

one sector looking for growth influences NFC space

In many places, including Ireland, one sector looking for growth influences NFC space. New NFC-enabled debit cards are already being issued once the hardware is available in retail units, these could get to be the primary way of purchasing smaller value items, typically as much as %u20AC15. It is a new technology for small retail businesses but is at their favour as it will decrease the costs of handling cash and really should also increase payments at checkouts. Authentication is generally not essential this also accelerates the payment process. For that reason this technology might be a popular mobile payments model. However, just how well it takes off will likely depend upon the charging model. Consumers covers convenience but also in cash-strapped economic downturn, when the charge is just too high cash it is king.
Many small businesses have traditionally found the overheads of taking card payments prohibitive however, this model provides them entry to card payments and this will have a significant positive effect on their flow. The opportunity to take card payments in any location removes the attachment to customers having cash or cheques. What’s more, it removes the overhead in following up on unpaid invoices, itself a pricey exercise for most small businesses.

Do environmental factors effect rfid tag functionality?

Do environmental factors effect rfid tag functionality?

While choosing an RFID tag the first requirement is frequency. The frequency of the tags should be matched with the corresponding RFID reader for the proper functioning. Every RFID system works on particular frequency band of low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), ultra-high frequency (UHF) or microwave frequency. In general, with the increase in frequency range, the reading distance and rate of data processing also increase.

For the reliable functioning it is important to deploy a tag according to its environment conditions. The housing material used for construction of tags depends upon an application. If a tag is used for book tracking in libraries, the paper or plastic is used and for harsh environment the material will be different. Under the various environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, chemical impact, sand, water, dirt etc., a tag requires the suitable IP rates for protection. For indoor applications the IP65 or less are suitable and while selecting a tag for outdoor applications the IP67 or above is best.

NFC Forum Type 2 Tag

NFC Forum Type 2 Tag
NFC Forum Type 2 Tag is based on ISO 14443-A standard. Tags are read and re-write capable. Users can configure the tag to become read-only. Memory availability is 48 bytes and expandable to 2 kbyte. Communication speed is 106 kbit/s.

Standard: ISO 14443-A
Chip: Mifare Ultralight (NXP)

We offer NFC Type 2 in several formats: indoor labels/stickers, outdoor tags, contactless cards and key fobs.

Mifare Ultralight has been commercially available for long time. It has been used in several RFID and mobile RFID/NFC solutions. The tag type has real-life tested to be reliable, suitable for several purposes and also cost-efficient.