SPONSORED CONTENT: Today’s brand owners are always looking for ways to increase revenue and strengthen their brands, by better connecting with consumers and streamlining their operations. A growing number of brand owners, especially in the consumer sector, are taking advantage of low-cost RFID-NFC technologies to achieve these goals.
Brands of all kinds rely on RFID for inventory tracking and consumer engagement.
Low-cost RFID-NFC wireless technologies enable products and their packaging to be connected to cloud-based applications that support big data. The information stored in RFID-NFC wireless tags can be accessed via dedicated readers used by supply chain professionals, or by the more than two billion NFC-enabled smartphones owned by consumers.
The three RFID-NFC technologies – long-range, vicinity, and proximity – help control the supply chain and protect each product item with digital track, trace, and authentication. RFID-NFC can also help create deeper consumer relationships, by enabling value-added services and experiences before, during, and after a sale. What’s more, by enabling real-time data collection and analytics in the cloud, RFID-NFC supports continuous supply chain improvement and deeper consumer insights, so brand owners can make better decisions about their processes and products.
Here’s a closer look at the three RFID-NFC technologies:
Long-range RFID (UCODE®) reads tags over the greatest distance (up to 10 meters or more), with the help of a dedicated RFID reader, and without direct line of sight. Operating in the RAIN UHF range (840 to 960 MHz), long-range RFID is used primarily in the supply chain, where it reads hundreds of items per second.
Vicinity RFID (ICODE®) reads tags at up to 1.2 meters using a dedicated reader, but is also compatible with NFC, which means it can be read at close range by a standard NFC smartphone. Operating in the 13.56 MHz range, this hybrid technology greatly expands a brand’s options as it supports supply-chain as well as consumer applications.
Proximity RFID (NFC: NTAG®/MIFARE®) reads tags over only a few centimeters. It operates at 13.56 MHz and works with any NFC-enabled smartphone on the market. Proximity RFID lets anyone – including consumers – check if a product is genuine or verify it’s been handled properly while in the supply chain, and lets consumers access helpful product-related information and services before and after the sale.
All three of the RFID-NFC technology formats deliver new ways to protect brands, improve logistics, and create deeper consumer relationships. Here are just a few examples of how brands are putting RFID-NFC to work:
Vivienne Westwood (UCODE)
This luxury fashion brand uses woven UCODE labels, provided by TexTrace, to combat counterfeits, shrinkage, and gray-market activity. The labels are part of the item itself, not a hangtag or care label, so they can be encoded and shipped directly to suppliers. Labelled items are easily tracked and authenticated throughout the supply chain, using standard RFID technology at checkpoints and in stores, and any unauthorized sales are subject to legal action.
Bottega Veneta (ICODE)
Since 2010, this Italian designer, known for unsurpassed craftsmanship and attention to detail, has used RFID to make sure everything related to their supply chain – from raw materials and final products to consumer returns – can be traced and digitally authenticated. The system uses NXP ICODE’s unique privacy mode, so consumers can be confident that any information about their purchase remains solely with Bottega Veneta.
This French artisanal winery equips all their bottles with NXP MIFARE Ultralight C tags, for NFC authentication with encryption. At any time, inspectors, distributors, and retailers can quickly verify authenticity in the field and combat illegal diversion, just by tapping an NFC phone or tablet to the back label. NFC also lets consumers authenticate bottles at the point of sale, and lets them learn more about the estate, the vintage, and how best to store and serve the wine.
Embassy Bicycles (NTAG)
Based in Poland, this innovative bicycle maker brings wireless technology to the iconic mid-century American design of a beach cruiser. Each customized Embassy cruiser is equipped with a unique NFC feature that creates a more personal relationship with the bike owner. An NFC app lets cyclists verify authenticity and view information about specifications and accessories, and lets bike owners assert ownership of their cruiser if the bike is ever lost or stolen.
Take the next step
To see more ways NXP can help strengthen your brand and improve operations, check out our informational brochure titled “Make Your Products Smarter and More Secure with RFID-NFC.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw is an expert in the definition and implementation of brand strategies and cross-channel marketing solutions. At NXP, she’s driving IoT applications that increase engagement between brands and consumers by adding digital RFID-NFC connectivity, security and intelligence to physical media and products.