Feeds

Startup proposes cheap, printed NFC radio tags

May struggle to get aboard struggling standard

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.