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Raflatac Positions Itself for NFC Adoption

UPM Raflatac recently announced the launch of a portfolio of RFID tags for use in near field communication (NFC) applications. The tags have already been deployed in some applications, but official availability begins this month. RFID Update spoke with Raflatac's business development director Mikko Nikkanen about the new chips and his company's view of NFC adoption.
Dec 11, 2008This article was originally published by RFID Update.

December 11, 2008—UPM Raflatac recently announced the launch of a portfolio of RFID tags for use in near field communication (NFC) applications. The tags have already been deployed in some applications, but official availability begins this month. RFID Update spoke with Raflatac's business development director Mikko Nikkanen about the new chips and his company's view of NFC adoption.

"We are not hyping NFC. It might take some time before NFC adoption is at the high-volume level," Nikkanen told RFID Update. "But we have to be prepared for when it happens."

Nikkanen said Raflatac's projections are based on those from research firms like ABI Research. "We are referring to the same market data that is publicly available," he said. "If you look at ABI Research, maybe there is not a lot of growth next year, but you do see steady growth overall." He added that there might be a few pleasant surprises, but that Raflatac isn't depending on them. "There might be some business cases that can speed up the market volumes, but we are operating under the assumption of a moderate estimate of growth."

Two areas that Nikkanen is most excited about are NFC mobile handsets and electronics pairing. "The most important thing is that consumers have devices available with NFC capabilities," he said of the former. Of electronics pairing, which enables two electronic devices to automatically communicate by reading each other's NFC tags, he said NFC is an opportunity to transform the way consumer devices are configured. "Setting up the iPod is pretty easy, but everything else is still quite complicated," he said. "With NFC there are opportunities to make electronics work a little bit differently. Electronics pairing is the kind of application that makes life easier for the consumer."

Nikkanen said part of the motivation for the new NFC tag products was demand from existing clients. "We already had some NFC products, and we were seeing growing interest related to those products," he said. "But customers wanted more flexibility in the NFC chips, so these new products are more flexible," he explained. "You can upgrade the memory, for example."

The new tags are the MiniTrack NFC, designed for toys, electronics pairing, authentication, and key chains; the BullsEye NFC for CDs, DVDs, smart posters, and asset tagging; and RaceTrack NFC for identification cards and tickets. All three are compliant with NFC Forum tag types 1, 2, and 4.
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