Although NFC (near-field communication) technology may sound confusing and complicated, the premise of NFC is quite simplistic. Essentially, this technology allows the transfer of data between different devices to happen without any Internet connection. Everything is done wirelessly.
Since the communication is instant, you do not have to pair the two devices to one another like you have to do with Bluetooth. This makes it much easier to get the information you are looking for without the clunky process of pairing devices to talk with each other. Theoretically, this means you can scan something with your smartphone and have access to the information immediately without any waiting, paring, or cumbersome connecting.
We are beginning to see the first major steps with NFC packaging in some of today’s leading-edge companies, but it is yet to truly explode in the smart packaging world. In fact, most people are likely unaware of this technology, what it is, how it is used, and if any of the products they buy incorporate NFC technology. Regardless, some companies are beginning to use this tech in their product’s packaging to communication with the customers better and gather further insights.
NFC technology is included in packaging in the form of a small chip. This chip is a wireless link that can be activated by another chip, such as your smartphone. Once the NFC chip in the package is activated by your smartphone chip, tiny amounts of data are then transferred between the two devices, giving you information on the product with the special NFC chip. As discussed above, there is no pairing that must be set up first like we see in Bluetooth, making it simple for the customer to use without any hassle or time-consuming set-up.
The most common way we see this tech used in smart packaging today is through Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. These payment methods allow your credit and debit cards to be loaded onto your phone, so you can pay without your card. All you have to do is tap your phone and hold it on the point of sales system (the device you use to scan your card, type in your pin, etc.) and the transaction is completed without your physical card.
NFC is becoming more popular in packaging as well, all though it is not a popular and well-known as the form on tech above. Interestingly, NFC technology is often used in alcohol bottles, like wine bottles and hard liquor.
Remy Martin, an alcohol company, uses a bottle that is equipped with a NFC chip in the lid. When you open the bottle, the NFC chip is then activated, and you can use your smart phone to gain access to the information within the chip. All you have to do is tap your smartphone to the lid with the chip and you will have instant access to loads of special information. Information can include anything the company wants to know such as special offers, promotions, nutritional information, if your product is authentic, and so much more. The tech is popular with high-end alcohol companies, so they can ensure their customers the bottles they are buying are authentic and not counterfeits. The chip can also tell the customer is they bottle has ever been opened or been tampered with.
NFC tech goes hand-in-hand with IoT. The NFC chip doesn’t just allow customers to tell if a product is authentic or not, but it can also act as a communication point between customers and the company itself- particularly marketers.
The chip can enable these marketers to communicate and interact directly with customer is an easy and hassle-free way. As soon as a customer cans the chip with their smartphone, vital information about that user is sent to the company in real-time. The company and manufacturer have access to this information, which can in turn allow the company to see where their products are, how they are used, and how to target their customers better with their tailored information. In today’s world, understanding the customer is essential to success and standing apart from the competition, and NFC chips can be an essential link to the ever-changing consumer-driven world.