Print media is entering a new era, thanks to the NTAG 210µ, a next-generation Near Field Communication (NFC) IC that turns traditional print formats into smart print media. Added to paper, either in the form of a sticker or as an integral part of the paper itself, NTAG 210µ turns traditional print media, such as magazines, posters, signs, catalogs, and mailers, into digitalized channels that allow direct communication with consumers, for context-based experiences and personalized interactions.
Smart print media lets today’s brands take advantage of what ABI Research predicts will be 1.8 billion NFC-enabled handsets in use by the end of 2016, rising to 3 billion by the end of 2018. Adding NFC to what has, up to now, been offline channels makes print media part of the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT).
Any NFC-enabled phone, brought close to the NTAG 210µ, powers the NFC tag and initiates the transfer of information stored in the chip. This allows for local use on the phone application or connection to a cloud-based service. Interactions between the tag and the consumer can be customized, to provide digital content based on certain factors, such as time and location, and in response to current or prior user actions.
User engagement becomes a real-time data feed and creates a stronger bond with the brand, through context-sensitive messages, special experiences at a given time or location, or individual promotions based on usage patterns. Each interaction can also be captured by a content-management platform, based in the cloud, so advertisers and marketers can track trends, personalize interactions, and gain deeper consumer insights.
Direct, personal brand engagements
Smart, NFC-enabled print media, using NTAG 210µ, creates direct digital engagement with individual consumers, and seamlessly merges their offline and online content experiences. As an advertiser, marketer, or retailer, you can use smart print media to connect directly with customers and provide extra product information, vouchers, promotions, links to social media, how-to videos – just about any type of content you want.
The creative possibilities are almost endless, since the NTAG 210µ can be part of other paper-based items, too. For example, interactive packaging solutions can enhance the customer experience by presenting add-on products, promotional messages, or contests. Smart playing cards can take gaming to the next level, by unlocking power-ups, new characters, and higher gaming levels, and smart greeting cards can be configured to give personalized text, voice, or video messages.
Leaving QR codes in the rear-view mirror
NFC is simpler, more convenient, and quicker to use than the matrix barcodes, called Quick Response (QR) codes, that have appeared in print media in recent years. With a QR code, you have to download an app that turns your phone into a QR code scanner in order to read the static information. QR codes also don’t store or modify content, so the interactions they support are much more limited.
With NFC, there’s no need to download a special app, since an NFC-enabled smartphone can read an NTAG on its own, without third-party software. The user experience is completely intuitive, because all you need to do is bring your phone close to the printed piece to initiate an interaction. NFC doesn’t impact the graphic design of the piece the way a QR code can, since the tag can be completely invisible and does not require printing space. Add it up, and NFC, in the form of NTAG 210µ is an ideal replacement for current barcode and QR code solutions.
Key enabler: NTAG 210µ
The new NTAG 210µ is designed to enable digital engagement in high-volume, cost-sensitive applications. It’s fully NFC Forum type 2 tag compliant, comes with a flexible 48-byte read/write memory, and has two options for input capacitance (17 or 50 pF), so it enables a wide range of form factors. Also, since NFC tags have individual serial numbers, each piece of printed media is automatically made unique. This allows campaigns and brand owners to retrieve usage data and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly.
To increase the number of possible use cases, the NTAG 210µ offers a reprogrammable NXP originality signature. The tag can use the pre-configured originality signature, assigned by NXP, or can be configured with a custom signature for use with the media assets of a specific brand. That way, individual players in the supply chain can make use of the tag in their own promotions.
To create an interactive NTAG 210µ content experience on an Android device, developers can simply use NXP’s free, MIFARE SDK which provides simple-to-use Android libraries for rapid mobile app development. The application can be configured to check the tag’s signature and authenticity, and then deliver the specified interaction for an outstanding user experience.
NTAG 210µ partners
To help expand the ecosystem for smart print media, NXP has partnered with other key players in the RFID market and consumer segment. Developers of NXP-based smart print media can leverage the resources and expertise of SMARTRAC, a manufacturer of high-security RFID inlays, like those used in ePassports, and RapidNFC, Europe’s largest online provider of NFC items. NXP’s solutions for smart print media are also supported by Cartamundi, a global producer of playing cards.
“NXP’s NTAG 210µ provides us with unprecedented levels of flexibility. It gives us the potential to significantly increase our customer experience while offering innovation and excitement. Today, NFC enabled playing cards are a perfect complement to smartphones and tablets, greatly enhancing the mobile gaming experience for kids and adults alike. NXP’s NTAG 210µ now brings our physical card plays into the connected age.”
— Steven Nietvelt, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at Cartamundi
“By launching NTAG 210µ, NXP furthermore demonstrates the capabilities of NFC-optimized ICs for a broad array of NFC applications. The NTAG 210µ enables us to serve the market with smaller inlays like SMARTRAC MIDAS or CIRCUS, which can be easily embedded in smart advertising media, interactive cards, smart toys and other items. In addition, it enables brand owners and retailers to enhance the customer experience by adding digital content and marketing services to their physical products. The connection of digital content to object-embedded NFC tags can be achieved with SMARTRAC’s ‘EXPERIENCES’ solution, which is based on our Internet of Things platform SMART COSMOS. Therefore, we are very pleased to jointly work with NXP to continue delivering a highly innovative portfolio to a market that is gaining momentum, and offers lots of ‘untapped’ potential.”
— Tero Koivisto, Vice President, Product Management Inlays, Intelligent Things Business Division at Smartrac Technology Group
Join the conversation
What kinds of interactions would you like to see with smart print media? How do you think smart print media will impact advertising campaigns and marketing promotions? Will it create deeper brand relationships?