Feeds

Startup proposes cheap, printed NFC radio tags

May struggle to get aboard struggling standard

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

NFC tags can be printed rather than built for a more egalitarian tracking system, according to tech start-up Kovio.

Kovio reckons that its printed tags will come in at below five cents a time and can be built up using conventional printing techniques, trumping existing tags that are generally stuck on and cost two or three times the amount.

The problem is that Kovio's tags fall outside the already ballooned Near Field Communications standard. Established NFC manufacturer Inside Secure will support Kovio tags in both its embedded and stand-alone readers, but unless other manufacturers jump aboard there's unlikely to be much in the way of reading material.

The NFC standard has already been expanded to encompass various pre-existing short-range radio standards, allowing proponents to claim millions of daily users without having to actually recruit any. The term "NFC" has even been adopted by entirely incompatible standards based in a different frequency, so we really should refer to the standard as "N-Mark" these days - though no one does.

NFC (or N-Mark) requires supporting hardware to have both an induction-powered tag and a reader, so an NFC-equipped phone can be used as a tag for ticketing and proximity payments (even if the phone's battery is dead), but can also read tags to pick up a URL from a movie poster and check the price of a bag of crisps.

It's those tags that currently cost as much as 15 cents a time, and that Kovio reckons can be printed for five, prompting an amusing Ferrari comparison when talking to NFC Times. But as a nascent standard barely in consumers' hands, the last thing NFC needs is fragmentation. Kovio will be hoping there's still time to have its technology incorporated into the standard, but the window of opportunity is closing fast. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages
Hello. HELLO. Can EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE HEAR ME?!
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?