2013-08-08

Can I use NFC tags with CliqTags, and if so how?

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You sure can. CliqTags is inherently NFC compatible by using very short URLs for access to content. Sites created in CliqTags behave exactly the same whether accessed via QR Codes, SMS, NFC or any other method.

What’s NFC?

NFC (Near Field Communication) is a specialization/extension of RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) for specifically mobile devices, and primarily mobile phones. It can be used for information retrieval, payments (provided infrastructure for that), personal identification, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth configuration etc.

A smartphone uses weak radio communication over a few centimeters to read out information from an NFC tag, that essentially is an antenna with an information chip, that can be configured to store any information, provided it’s brief.

The phone sends out a signal that powers the chip, enough for it to send its stored information. As tags have no batteries (usually), it’s possible to provide them in many different form factors, including very thin or small, as self-adhesive stickers, as badges, credit card sized etc, as seen in the picture.

The data stored in the tag can be interpreted as plain text, links, SMSs, e-mail etc by the mobile phone in a standardized way.

How do I use NFC tags in mobile marketing?

Put NFC tags on posters, on shopping windows, at bus stops etc, and have users access whatever information you want to convey.

As the NFC tag doesn’t have to be visible, you are in complete control of the printed information on top of the NFC tag. Especially if you use the self-adhesive ones and put them behind posters. Then the only thing a user sees is a printed call-to-action message, like “Tap to Win” etc, framed in an attractive way.

How much data can I fit in an NFC tag?

The simpler NTAG203 compatible ones can store a little more than 100 bytes. Mifare1k compatible ones can store almost 800 bytes.

Yet, when used with CliqTags, both work well, as a CliqTags link is very short, 20-30 bytes, depending on the site ID. You can also add a tracking ID without problem.

Aren’t they expensive?

In small volumes they are a few $. In volume they can go below $1. Stickers are less expensive than badges.

How do I get hold of some NFC tags?

They are provided by almost all shops selling phone gadgets, but can also be ordered on-line. They are available in a range of form factors adapted for different uses.

There are several providers that can ship pre-configured NFC tags with possible print in volume.

What do I need to configure NFC tags for use with CliqTags?

For small-volume applications you can install CliqTags NFC Writer that is specifically designed for use with CliqTags and that makes configuring tags very easy. See the picture for how it works:

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For volume applications you can order NFC tags with pre-configured content.

What about phone compatibility?

Both Android and iOS support reading NFC tags natively, and act on the content, in the case of CliqTags a URL that opens the site pointed to.

In the case of Android it’s been available for very long. NFC just has to be activated in Settings, if not already.

In the case of iOS it’s been available since iOS version 14, and from iPhone 7 and forward. See here for how to use NFC tags on an iOS device: How To Read NFC Tags With An iPhone

It’s recommended to combine one or more of NFC, QR Codes and possibly SMS requests in the same context and for the same information, to maximize the chances users will access your content.

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