A new, robust NFC glass tag with one of the smallest form factors on the global market offers embedded tags for a wide range of new industry segments and applications.
Embedded glass tags are well known for their use in, for example, animal marking and identification. Smartrac’s new ‘Glass Tag NFC’ small form factor will extend its use to other segments of the industry, such as retail, apparel, toys and gaming, merchandising, tools and industrial goods, as well as new areas of animal ID.
A significant difference between NFC glass tags and standard NFC inlays is their robustness and tubular form factor, which allows new ways of embedding NFC tags into physical objects. This can be done very easily in various industrial materials with complete reliability, either by injection molding into plastic components or by inserting into small, pre-drilled holes, as long as the surrounding material is non-conductive. The removal of NFC glass tags is difficult and destroys the tag.
Because they are so small, NFC glass tags can be embedded very discreetly and invisible, if necessary. In addition, they are water resistant, corrosive chemicals, cleaning agents, varnish and many more.
“Our new, miniaturized NFC Glass Tag offers customers the opportunity to embed a robust NFC tag in many different types of materials and products. Broadening the use of glass tags beyond their proven field of animal ID and tracking, this new product will offer many more applications to customers wishing to protect their brand, to authenticate products or even to offer new means of customer engagement and marketing to end users.”—Hansjörn Reifschläger, Head of Sales at Smartrac Specialty Division.
The New World of Applications
Glass tags were initially equipped with LF (low frequency) and were designed for animal identification using specialized reader devices.
As new glass tags work with any NFC-enabled smartphone, a virtually unlimited range of applications is now possible. In addition to animal tracking and identification, the new Smartrac Glass Tag NFC will therefore enable applications such as product authentication on both the manufacturer and end-user sides, brand protection, customer engagement and consumer loyalty and marketing.
In addition, glass tags can enable comprehensive applications for the management of products, parts and components throughout the lifetime of the product, such as:
Track & track the entire supply chain to the end user, enabling diversion detection to mitigate the impact of the gray market
Providing comprehensive product information at the point of sale
Consumer/user authentication for the protection of counterfeit products
Activation of warranty and registration of user
Displaying guidance on product use, e.g. user manual, safety certificates, etc.
Providing direct feedback to users for future product development
Record the history of maintenance
Enable better recycling at the end of the product lifecycle
New use of cases for IoT scenarios
Industrial companies can now easily build NFC technology into their Industrial Internet of Things business by integrating product identification into manufacturing processes, supply chains or even warehouse management. As an example, manufacturers often use very expensive tools. The built-in Glass Tag NFC can serve as a data source for the location, properties, movement, availability and history of the individual tool.
For example, on the retail side, sales staff could immediately inform customers about specific product features or special offers.
End users could benefit from specific digital experiences, such as product information, tutorials or product registration, by tapping their smartphone on the NFC tag embedded in the product. Just think of a flat-pack cabinet or kitchen that you’d like to put together: you can easily identify each component with your smartphone and sync it with the construction manual. Pure product identification could, of course, be complemented by product authentication and brand protection applications.
Small but difficult
With a diameter of just 2.12mm, 12mm and a weight of just 100mg, Smartrac’s Glass Tag NFC is one of the smallest glass tags on the market today. This extremely robust tag, which is resistant to most chemicals, can be embedded in a range of new materials, such as concrete, plastic or wood, often by inserting into pre-drilled holes before being sealed in place with synthetic resin or silicone.
Hansjörn Reifschläger, Head of Sales at Smartrac Specialty, said, “Our new, miniaturized NFC Glass Tag offers customers the opportunity to embed a robust NFC tag in a wide range of materials and products. Broadening the use of glass tags beyond their proven field of animal ID and tracking, this new product will offer many more applications to customers wishing to protect their brand, to authenticate products or even to offer new means of customer engagement and marketing to the end of the market.
Glass Tag NFC is available with either an NXP SLIX IC with 112 byte user memory and NFC Forum Type 5 Tag compliance, or NXP NTAG21x ICs with up to 888 bytes of user memory and NFC Forum Type 2 Tag compliance. The data from the chip inside the tag can be read either by a dedicated reader or by an NFC-enabled smartphone. The typical reading range, depending on the use case, is 2-3cm.
Glass Tag NFC is made of biocompatible glass and can optionally be supplied with a Parylene coating for use with animal marking, which anchors the tag in place.