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Manure-Processing Equipment Maker Employs NFC

Nutrient Control Systems is adopting NFC RFID technology to make it easier for farmers and its other customers to access information about its products.
By Claire Swedberg

The TapLive system not only lets users view information and store links about a particular product on their phone, without needing to carry paperwork (brochures or flyers), but also allows NCS to view how much interest there is for the equipment at each location, and when. Kemp says she can then determine how well specific machines are attracting attention, along with where this occurs, and thus plan the marketing of those products, as well as future trade show exhibits, based on those results.

Beginning this fall, the company intends to begin applying NFC RFID tags to all equipment that it sells. Moreover, it plans to ship tags to existing customers, to be applied to the NCS equipment they use at their facilities.

NCS' Alyson Kemp
The ID number encoded on each product's NFC tag will be linked to that machine's serial number (which would be entered into the TapLive software at the time of manufacture, or by the farmer when he or she attached the tag to an NCS machine). When an individual taps the tag with an Android phone equipped with NFC functionality, that person will then be able to access online content, such as a user's manual, parts-ordering information, or the locations of authorized service and repair businesses within that user's area (based on the phone's GPS data).

Without the NFC system, a farmer would need to search for a serial number printed on a piece of equipment, find the company's website or phone number and then seek out the information. "NFC provides a seamless experience," Neil says. "Just tap the tag." The latest generation of farmers nearly all carry a smartphone with them, he notes, and thus respond well to technology. As such, Neil adds, these younger farmers tend to like the idea of using NFC to access data quickly.

The tags cost NCS less than a dollar each, Kemp reports, so the company can provide the technology to its customers for no added cost.

Purple Deck Media has provided its NFC RFID solutions to several retailers and restaurants, as well as to Franklin County Veterans and 9/11 Memorial Park (see Purple Deck Media RFID-Enables Veterans' Trail of Service). The company also provides postcards and brochures with embedded NFC RFID tags for direct-marketing mailings.

Harshbarger's Sub 'n Malt, which operates two diners in Pennsylvania, uses the TapLive system to promote its desserts and other products. The restaurant's owner has attached an NFC sticker to each menu at one of the diners. When a patron taps his NFC-enabled phone to a menu's tag, he can receive promotional offers, such as two banana splits for the price of one at the ice cream shop connected to that eatery. According to Purple Deck Media, Harshbarger's has reported that sales are up significantly since the NFC system was taken live, and the owner is now installing the technology at the other diner.

In the meantime, NCS is in conversations with a supplier of bags for packaging CowFibre bedding, about the possibility of embedding NFC tags into its bags so that customers could access data regarding the product before or after making a purchase. Kemp says her company is still discussing how the tag would be embedded in such a way that the bedding would not damage the tag or block transmissions.

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