TAMOCO Provides Analytics About NFC Use

By Claire Swedberg

The London startup focuses on Near Field Communication RFID tags and services designed to help its clients—retailers and product marketers—learn more about consumer behavior.

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TAMOCO is providing Near Field Communication (NFC) radio frequency identification solutions that feature business analytics software to help the company’s clients (retailers and product marketers) learn more about the behavior of consumers who read NFC RFID tags deployed by those clients. Data could include trends related to users’ interest in a specific product, based on which tags were read, as well as when and where this occurred.

While NFC solutions have been cropping up in London over the past few years, including those for mobile payment and ticketing, TAMOCO aims to provide its solution with analytics regarding where and when consumers tap the tags with their NFC-enabled smartphones, not only at its clients’ sites but also at other locations. The startup company provides end-to-end solutions—consisting not only of NFC tags in a variety of form factors, but also a server that its clients can log onto in order to access trending data related to which of their tags are being tapped at which particular times, as well as where their users have tapped other businesses’ tags. The company also assists in developing the NFC-based campaign, and programs the tags to direct NFC-enabled phones and tablet PCs to the appropriate data, video or Web sites.


TAMOCO’s Maximilian Birner

TAMOCO is an acronym derived from the words Tag Mobile Company. The firm was founded in 2012, in London, by Maximilian Birner and Sam Amrani, to meet the growing market for NFC technology as a greater number of mobile phones are equipped with NFC readers, and as NFC RFID-based ticketing and mobile-payment solutions are being offered in the United Kingdom. TAMOCO’s solution is intended for marketing purposes, as opposed to payment systems.

Since its founding a year ago, the company has completed a series of trials—including embedding NFC tags into business cards, and conducting a series of tests for a book publisher in which tags were hidden and contest participants had to locate them in order to earn the prize of a free book. According to Birner, TAMOCO now has 15 clients in the process of deploying its solutions. Those clients will begin tagging products, posters, entryways or other locations throughout the next two months.

While a variety of vendors offer NFC solutions, Birner says, TAMOCO differentiates itself by providing software to track data regarding behavior related to NFC reads. Every time an NFC tag is tapped, he explains, the TAMOCO software records that event and produces related trending data for its clients. For example, if an individual phone-tapped an NFC sticker at a coffeehouse, and then at a hotel, TAMOCO could provide each of those businesses with information regarding customer behavior—such as the number of hotel guests who also frequent that coffeehouse, and who purchase specific drinks.

TAMOCO’s clients include a London real-estate broker, a hotel chain and a bank. The broker plans to incorporate NFC tags in property listings displayed in its office’s front window. An individual could read details about a particular home or property and, if interested, access additional information by tapping his or her phone against the TAMOCO tag, where instructed by the words “For more info.” The phone’s RFID reader would interrogate the tag’s unique ID number, thereby directing the handset to a Web site that would display related videos, photographs, pricing and other information, and perhaps enable the prospective buyer to connect to an agent or make an offer online.

The bank intends to use the technology to entice new customers, by inviting them to download a calculator application to gain information about the bank’s fees and interest rates, or other features. First, a user would tap his or her phone against the tag built into a poster promoting the bank. Such posters could be displayed at the bank offices themselves, or at airports and other public locations. Once the phone reads the tag’s ID number, the user can view an invitation to press a prompt to download the calculator app. That individual could then input various criteria—such as the minimum required account balance—and the calculator could provide details pertaining to interest to be earned, for instance.

The hotel chain intends to install an NFC RFID tag on a wall within each guest room. Guests would be invited to tap their NFC-enabled phone against the tag, thereby causing the handset to display an online questionnaire where they could then input opinions about the room and services.

In all three use cases, TAMOCO will track data about which specific phones are being used to read an NFC tag. No personal data can be tracked, Birner notes—simply the telephone’s unique identifier, not the phone number or information about its owner. In that way, the software identifies behavior related to each individual phone, but not to the person using it. For example, the software could provide the hotel with data regarding how often a particular tag was tapped (even if the participant failed to fill out the questionnaire), as well as which subsequent tags may have been tapped by that same phone, such as in a bar or spa located at the same hotel. If that individual then tapped a tag at the real-estate office, for example, the broker would be able to access trending data indicating how many people viewing their properties were staying at a particular hotel, which could provide some data, such as the viewers’ expected income, based on that hotel’s pricing.

TAMOCO also plans to provide geofencing options by the second half of 2013, Birner says. With the geofencing solution, a hotel guest could download an app (provided by TAMOCO or its client) that would enable that individual to search for businesses of interest in the immediate area—such as a specific type of restaurant. That information would be available via the TAMOCO software, based on the phone’s previous activity at other such businesses deploying TAMOCO NFC tags.

TAMOCO is utilizing a variety of makes and models of NFC tags containing chips from NXP Semiconductors. The tags’ form factors will vary according to a specific user’s needs. The tags could be mounted on walls, for instance, but they could also be embedded in wristbands or business cards.

Birner says he expects NFC RFID technology to become prevalent in the United Kingdom and beyond during the coming year, whether or not the next version of Apple iPhone is equipped with an NFC reader (the iPhone 5 does not include such a reader, though many Android and BlackBerry phones do). He adds, however, that he expects Apple to incorporate NFC functionality into its next iPhone model.

TAMOCO’s clients pay a one-time setup fee to get started with its service, with cost dependent on the complexity of the service and the quantity of tags required—for example, a system linking tags directly to a single Web site would be less expensive than one providing additional functions, such as displaying video content. The company then charges the customer a fee each time one of its tags is tapped. Birner declines to cite the exact price, noting that the tap fee is minimal.