Amid the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic there are hopeful developments. Companies have ramped up the production of diagnostic tests and modified existing lines to make medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE), while others work at speed to develop and test vaccines, treatments and antibody test kits.
Consumers around the world are also doing their part, practicing social distancing and self-isolating to reduce the spread of the virus and minimize the impact on medical facilities. The desire to stay healthy has increased demand for prevention- and immunity-oriented products, including multi-vitamins.
Intelligent labels and packaging are helping on both fronts, supporting the need to get healthcare supplies to end users safely and to protect patients while offering healthcare workers secure access to accurate diagnostics and life-saving treatments.
The technology behind these intelligent labels and packages—contactless NFC—offers the safety and security necessary to help tackle the spread of COVID-19 while giving scientists, medical staff and patients the ability to interact with products so they can verify authenticity, check expiration dates and even gain useful insights into the nature of the virus.
By tapping their smartphones to the product label or package, consumers can learn about a medication and how best to use it. Interactive features can be used to re-order supplies and renew prescriptions and can connect patients to online health services.
Manufacturers can use NFC-enabled packages and labels to protect the supply chain from various vulnerabilities, including counterfeit products, grey-market diversion and product tampering. Using NFC tags, companies and health authorities can detect and analyze problems faster and take corrective actions sooner.
Consumer-health companies can help in the fight against the virus by making use of NFC’s ability to collect data and track analytics and by supplying insights to health organizations and life scientists. Real-time intelligence can come from the products themselves, showing where sales and usage are taking place, while ensuring a high level of privacy and security for any personal data. To support testing, secure registration links can safely give patients direct access to test results, reducing the incidence of human error. With opt-in track and trace features, life scientists and governments can address the ongoing risk of disease spread while enabling faster insights and quicker corrective measures.
At NXP, we aim to help during challenging times. We are working with healthcare brands and health agencies to leverage NFC during the COVID-19 crisis. We offer a full suite of fully-passive proximity tags, called NTAG®, which work with an NFC-enabled smartphone over a close range of just a few centimeters. Additionally, we offer fully-passive vicinity tags, called ICODE®, which work with a dedicated HF reader at up to 1.5 meters and with an NFC-enabled smartphone at close range.
As the co-inventor of NFC and a long-time driver of advancements in RFID security, we offer a compelling set of protection features, including enhanced security (with originality signature, AES-based cryptography and SUN tap-unique message feature), as well as conductive tamper evidence and enhanced privacy protection. Moreover, our semi-passive temperature sensors, NTAG Smart Sensor, combine NFC functionality with autonomous sensing and data logging, powered by a battery, to meet cold-chain demands.
At the same time that we’re using NFC to protect products, we’re also using NFC to protect transactions. Our contactless, NFC-driven payment solutions are supported globally and make it possible for consumers to make purchases without using cash by simply holding a card above a payment terminal or using a mobile phone with a payment wallet.
Our long-standing commitment to NFC supports our mission to use technology to create a better world and gives us a way to help keep people safe and healthy while we battle COVID-19.