Moving Towards Disruption: Early Movers Incorporate NFC into Smart Packaging


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Nathan J. Neil, PMP, James Sulfare Jr. and Dr. Joseph Catanio


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Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology that allows a "tag" to interact with a smartphone, when in near proximity. In 2010, Android devices began to utilize the technology. The technology found uses within consumer packaging to allow users to connect with Bluetooth speakers, wireless routers, and useful data. This improves the user experience. As of this year, Apple has joined into supporting NFC in ways that will enhance the demand for smart labels and packaging with NFC tags. Before in North America, Apple's restriction of NFC to only payment functions stunted growth that was seen in other areas of the world such as Europe and Asia. For print providers, who want to stay on the current edge of technology and follow the ever--evolving market, NFC is a technology that has the potential to have a large disruptive impact to the industry. NFC is a rather cheap technology in comparison to the value it adds. Business card printing startup, Moo has made a large name for themselves with their premium stocks and NFC embedded tags. For their customers users who touch their phone to a NFC enabled business card may have the persons contact information saved into their phone, or the corporate website launch, along with hundreds of other possibilities. They were an early mover with incorporating the technology, but now with less uncertainty in the market, it makes sense for more print providers and package designers to keep this technology in mind as they plan for the future.

As a society, we Google 3.5 billion searches each day. Before the advent of the Internet, we would look up our questions in books, encyclopedias, and other printed materials. We want to get answers, information, and content as soon as possible. Technology will never eliminate printed goods and packaged products, but those who produce these goods can enhance their overall business and demands from a fast-paced society by incorporating NFC technology, which provides information on demand. No need to search online to answer a question, just touch your phone to the packaging. Want to reorder a product? No need to go onto Amazon and place the order, touch your phone to the packaging or label (much like Dash Button). NFC takes speed and consumption of content with an interactive component that satisfies societies need for fast delivery. By taking traditional printed goods and utilizing NFC with them, print and packaging companies can quickly make a hybrid product that connects their physical packaging to something virtual.

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