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Flexstr8 Offers NFC-Enabled Labels for Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Products

The startup's NFC Smart Label solution is being trialed by companies to track goods, pharmaceuticals, and maintenance and service for industrial equipment.
By Claire Swedberg

Flexstr8 is providing its product to distribution representatives in such locations as Taiwan, Korea, Australia and parts of Africa, as well as in Europe and the United States. It also sells the solution directly to chemical and drug manufacturers and other types of companies. One firm that is testing the technology is a pharmaceutical business that intends to tag each of its drug products and then track their location and authenticity via mobile phones. In another application, a global equipment manufacturer is applying a label to each critical part on a large piece of equipment for use by individuals who repair, maintain or inspect that equipment. In that case, the workers utilize an NFC-enabled phone to access a manual explaining how each part of the equipment works and how it should be maintained.

The company has been selling its smart label products for approximately one month. Flexstr8 has also begun offering free rugged NFC smart label samples for about a week. A startup kit that includes the clip-on encoder, software and 500 NFC smart labels sells at a retail price of $1,199, while those purchasing the device could either use their existing Epson industrial label printer or purchase one from Epson. They would then simply buy the Flexstr8 software and smart labels to be encoded. Flexstr8 also offers an NFC printing and encoding service for those who do not want the print-on-demand function.

The back of each Flexstr8 label has an NFC RFID inlay made with an NXP NTAG203 RFID chip.
In Africa, a beer brewery is testing the labels for use on smart poster advertisements. Multiple companies throughout Taiwan, meanwhile, are using or purchasing the labels for marketing purposes on a variety of products.

Within the next few months, the company intends to release the solution with greater functionality, including a label that features built-in sensors such as those for measuring temperature, as well as more user memory than the 144 bytes available with the existing label's NTAG 203 chip, in order to store sensor data. According to Flexstr8, the labels would be designed and priced to be disposable.

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