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Smartrac Brings Experience Center to California

The new center and office are focused on enabling customers and partners to experiment with RFID solutions specific to their use cases, as technology use expands in retail, brand authentication and other sectors.
By Claire Swedberg

For several years, Apple had limited its built-in NFC functionality only for use with Apple Pay. However, the 2017 release of the latest iOS products enabled access to the NFC feature for app developers. That has led to a growth in NFC development throughout the past year (see Apple Embraces NFC [Finally]).

Some of that NFC growth has been in solutions for brand authentication, Mobayen says. For instance, luxury brands are building NFC tags into the packaging of products to help vendors and consumers access authentication information by reading tags via a smartphone. NFC solutions are also increasingly being developed for consumer engagement, Mobayen adds. Shoppers can continue to engage with a brand by tapping an NFC-enabled phone to a product's tags, enabling them to access loyalty points, place re-orders or replacement parts, or gain product information.

In addition to brand protection, NFC is being utilized for such services as inspection and certification for fire extinguishers, electrical panels and other equipment requiring regular servicing or inspection. With the NFC data, Mobayen notes, inspectors or maintenance personnel can view information regarding a particular piece of equipment, as well as create records indicating the location of each unique piece of equipment and what services were provided, along with photographs if necessary.

Many companies planning RFID deployments, especially for such use cases as brand protection, are still inexperienced with the technology, Mobayen says. For such companies—large brands or manufacturers, for instance—the center will help them to learn the basics of RFID technology use, as well as build a potential application for their own use.

What's more, the experiential center will provide testing for solutions using UHF- or NFC-based technology, as well as sensor tags that leverage either technology type. "This is a way for us to better understand and communicate with those who use our products," Mobayen states.

"For us, engagement doesn't stop where the tagging starts," Mobayen says. RFID deployments "take you on a journey," he adds, "and we want to understand our customers' journey and provide the [support] they need."

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