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FineLine Launches NFC RFID Tag and Label Service Bureau

The company's customers can place an order online for NFC labels encoded with IDs linked to a URL, or other content or services, such as verifying that product is genuine.
By Claire Swedberg
According to Hoffman, FineLine sells labels made with Smartrac tags containing NXP Semiconductors' NTAG203 chips, such as Smartrac's BullsEye, though tag type varies according to each customer's needs.

What's more, FineLine can provide software service on a cloud-based server that helps a business monitor how often a tag is scanned, as well as when and where this occurs.

The most common application, Hoffman predicts, will be ClikSecure, a ClikGenie mobile application for brand protection and authentication. Brand owners of high-value products can have an NFC label attached to that product, such as a handbag or a bottle of wine. Brands often send auditors into stores, ports, loading docks and customs areas, in order to confirm products' authenticity in the supply chain, or as the goods are sold. By using NFC technology, the company can simply provide those auditors with NFC-enabled phones, such as Google's Nexus S model. An individual can then place his or her mobile phone within read range (a few inches) of the products, and determine whether that product has a valid NFC RFID tag. In this way, the auditor can ensure that the product is authentic.

The read data can also be saved on FineLine's cloud-based software and be provided to brand management, to collect information indicating which products the auditors have checked, and in which part of the world, based on GPS data from the phone. Smartrac also intends to market the ClikSecure mobile app to its customers for brand-protection applications. Details regarding how the app will be marketed have yet to be decided.

Since launching its NFC service bureau last month, FineLine has received orders from a major brand in Europe that is interested in piloting the technology for the purpose of authentication. Several U.S. phone carriers plan to utilize the tags to provide URL links to consumers wishing to view how a phone's functions can be used. FineLine reports that it will also supply NFC labels to a product display company that will be tagging its kiosks. In the latter scenario, the label will include an NFC tag and a QR code so that a user can learn more about a particular product within the kiosk, by tapping his or her NFC phone or scanning the QR code.

To date, Hoffman says, the use cases "have been pretty diverse."

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