NFC Tags

NFC (near field communication) is a wireless technology which allows for the transfer of data such as text or numbers between two NFC enabled devices. NFC tags, for example stickers or wristbands, contain small microchips with little aerials which can store a small amount of information for transfer to another NFC device, such as a mobile phone.

What information can you store ?

There's a whole set of different data types you can store on an NFC tag. The actual amount of data varies depending on the type of NFC tag used - different tags have different memory capacities. For example, you may choose to store a URL (web address) or a telephone number.

Usually, this information is stored in a specific data format (NDEF - NFC data exchange format) so that it can be reliably read by most devices and mobile phones.

Kixtag NFC Tags

Could someone change my NFC tag ?

NFC tags can be locked so that once data has been written, it cannot be altered. For most tags this is a one way process so once the tag is locked it cannot be unlocked.

Encoding and locking are two separate actions. NFC tags can be re-encoded numerous times until they are locked.

How can I encode NFC tags with my Kixtag address ?

The easiest way at the moment is to use an Android NFC enabled mobile phone. Just download a suitable App and you can be encoding your tags in minutes. If you think you might want to add stats tracking to your Kixtag later, then remember to use the NFC shortcode link rather than your full Kixtag address. You can find this under tracking links on your account control panel.

Which phones support NFC ?

Almost all new smartphones now support reading NFC tags. The vast majority of all Android phones have NFC tag reading and writing capability. Reading is native to the phone which means that you just need to tap the tag. Writing will usually require an App which are often free and easy to use. The latest iPhones can read NFC tags with an additional App but cannot write to them.

Will NFC tags replace QR Codes ?

Not likely.

QR Codes and NFC tags work in a similar way but they both have their advantages and disadvantages. The user experience with NFC is generally better but that all depends of course on having an Android phone. The majority of iPhone users will not have downloaded an NFC app so they will not be able to scan.

However, NFC tags cost money whereas printing a QR Code costs nothing. Additionally, there are a number of technical limitations to NFC tags such as scanning distance, size, use on metal surfaces and so on. None of these apply to QR Codes. Additionally, now that the iPhone (and shortly Android) have native QR Code scanning, we'd consider QR Codes a superior choice for the moment.

How long do the batteries last ?

NFC tags don't use batteries. They get their power from just being near a powered NFC device, for example a mobile phone. They do have a technical lifespan but it's many years.

How close do you have to be to the tag ?

The answer of course depends on your phone and the tag itself, but generally you need to be within a couple of centimetres (an inch).

Using NFC Tags with Kixtag

You can encode your Kixtag address directly onto an NFC tag. When people tap your tag, they will see your Kixtag connection page and be able to choose how to connect with you.

Note that if you think you might want to add statistics later to identify NFC tag scans, QR Code scans and so on, then make sure you encode the NFC Tag shortcode instead of your direct Kixtag address. You can find this under tracking links in your account control panel. It's also better to encode tracking link shortcodes if you think you might want to enable ScanTip notifications at a later date.

How do I buy NFC tags

To use NFC tags with Kixtag you will just need to encode a short web address/URL. For this, almost any NFC tag will work and you can purchase from any number of online stores. If you aren't sure how to encode the tags yourself, many stores will be able to encode the tags for you.