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GoToTags Releases High-Speed NFC Encoder, Software

The system, one of the many NFC RFID products and services that the company offers, is designed to encode a reel of passive tags at a rate of up to five inlays per second.
By Claire Swedberg

In addition, Tadlock contends, the more stable and consistent the tag's RF field is, the faster the encoding. For example, he says, when manually encoding tags, the human hand cannot reliably create a stable RF field pattern. Reel-to-reel systems are designed to create a stable RF field for the tags, and can thus encode at faster speeds.

GoToTag's encoder also uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect each tag as it is being encoded, and to count the tags in order to identify a "bad" NFC tag unable to be encoded. If the encoder identifies a bad tag, the NFC Encoder software will halt the process and audibly alert the user. This function is unavailable in the current software, but is expected to be released during the next few weeks.

Wireless Sensor Technologies' Craig Tadlock

This week, GoToTags is commercializing the solution not just for its own clients, but for any companies that need to encode NFC tags in large or small quantities. The firm is offering two versions of the reel-to-reel encoder. One employs an NXP Semiconductors Pagoda reader with a large antenna designed for reading tags that cannot be precisely placed on a roll or larger inlays. The other version has a built-in Advanced Card Systems (ACS) reader intended to provide a small RF reading field for smaller inlays, or for very precisely placed tags. To operate the encoder, a user must plug it into a Microsoft Windows-based computer via a USB cable; drivers are automatically downloaded via the Windows Update function.

GoToTags will modify its solution based on the needs of a specific customer. "You have to be flexible," Tadlock states. "Every customer has a unique requirement." The solution, he adds, is the result of "the hard lessons we've learned. We've done a lot of encoding projects."

The encoder, which can be purchased at Wireless Sensor Technologies' BuyNFCTags.Com online store, typically costs $10,000, while the NFC Encoder software can be downloaded for free, with a monthly fee that varies depending on the quantity of tags encoded. Individuals can use the software to encode each tag, and that data is then managed by GoToTags, which bills a user's credit card accordingly. Software use is priced at approximately two cents per tag, Tadlock reports, noting that the cost of having a service provider perform the encoding is typically about 5 cents per tag.

In addition to marketing its reel-to-reel RFID tag encoder and NFC Encoder software, Wireless Sensor Technologies, through BuyNFCTags.Com, sells software development kits, NFC readers, Smartrac RFID NFC tags, and a variety of NFC-tagged products, such as mouse pads, refrigerator magnets and key chains. The company also provides NFC-enabled Samsung Galaxy Nexus phones on a rental basis. These phones support only Wi-Fi functionality, and are intended for use as NFC RFID readers (the handsets do not have cellular service, and thus cannot be used to place phone calls or send and receive text messages). Additionally, the company provides custom NFC products and NFC tag printing.

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