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Moo Gives Out RFID Business Cards

As part of a beta-test, the printing company's customers are receiving NFC-enabled business cards that can be linked to videos, URLs or social-networking sites.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 24, 2012When people exchange business cards, each person must then count on the other recipient to make a telephone call, visit a URL or send an e-mail message to follow up on that meeting. However, printing company Moo has developed a business card containing a built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) passive 13.56 MHz RFID inlay that would deliver information directly to the card's recipient (assuming he or she were equipped with an NFC-enabled phone or other device). The card is currently being provided to up to 150,000 individuals as part of a beta-test. Each beta-test participant is receiving one NFC-enabled card with his or her own choice of data linked to the ID number encoded on the card's RFID chip. The linked data might be a company URL, a video, an e-mail address or a social-networking page, which would be displayed on the phone's screen each time the card was read.

Moo, which maintains offices in East Providence, R.I., and in London, intends to begin marketing the product during the first quarter of 2013, says Paul Thorogood, the company's senior product designer. However, he notes, the exact month of release will not be decided until after the company has had the opportunity to review responses to the beta test, and to make any necessary changes.

Founded in 2004, in the United Kingdom, Moo prints millions of paper business cards every month, and serves hundreds of thousands of customers in approximately 180 countries. Several years ago, the printing firm first began seeking technology solutions that would make business cards more engaging. "The theory around an NFC business card arose for Moo in the early spring of 2011," Thorogood explains. "We wanted to create something new," he says, and to "make it accessible for our customers." At that time, the company began investigating ways in which to insert an NFC inlay into the card stock it uses.

The company's goal, Thorogood says, was to close the loop between the physical world (such as a meeting between two people) and the online world (for example, data to be viewed on a Web site).

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