Web DF

March 20, 2017

Dual frequency inlays and tags: A perfect fit across retail, industrial and logistics applications

Dual-frequency inlays and tags don’t just offer manufacturers and retailers increased insight into the supply chain. They also offer a low-cost opportunity to extend their activities into enhanced interaction with end-users.

Smartrac’s Web DF (dual frequency) passive RFID inlays and tags combine HF (NFC) and UHF (RAIN RFID) frequencies in one single inlay to meet demanding retail, industrial or logistics application requirements. These tags can enhance control throughout the supply chain, from product inventory management for warehouses and product authentication, all the way through to end-user interaction.

Track, trace and enable
Current RAIN RFID (UHF) supply-chain use cases vary from warehouse track-and-trace to product authentication and identification. Items tagged on production can be identified by UHF readers throughout the logistical chain all the way to point of sale.

Web DF products are ideally suited to industrial and logistics environments. The dual frequency inlays and tags offer a complete solution in a simple package at a lower price point than using two separate inlays. In addition, both UHF and NFC functionality are integrated into a single IC, so they can offer added value to the end customer as well. Enabling NFC functionalities on top of UHF is straightforward, since only programming of the chip is needed, after which the end user can interact with the product simply by tapping it with an NFC-enabled smartphone.

Post-sales possibilities
Adding NFC capability by using a dual frequency tag offers current users of UHF tags for supply-chain visibility the opportunity to add consumer interaction functionality to their products. This extends product visibility into the post-sales environment.

While UHF technology enables proven supply-chain visibility, the NFC element opens up fascinating post-sales scenarios. Users can now start the interaction with the product simply by tapping the embedded tag with an NFC-enabled smartphone. NFC, for example, allows consumers to use their smartphones to sign up for loyalty schemes, be offered promotions, and start a dialogue with the brand.

Enhanced product information can be accessed, such as user manuals, in-depth instructions, or product warranty documentation. Registering for warranty programs, product return instructions, proof of product authenticity for anti-counterfeiting purposes, and many more potential applications are all easy to enable.

For brands that manage their own retail outlets, the possibilities are even more open: one single inlay can easily be used to cover a product’s entire journey through the supply chain, and turn into customer interactions after purchase that reinforce the brand’s identity and value.

High-end designer brands have already expressed strong interest in using Web DF as a means of guaranteeing the authenticity of products, by tracking them through the supply chain and into the customer’s hands. Such brand protection is critical in the world of designer labels, where counterfeiting is a common issue.

Advanced design
Web DF products are compact inlays that are ideally shaped for use as apparel hangtags or industrial labeling, providing high read reliability and optimum performance with fixed infrastructure. To create this innovative, dual-frequency inlay, the proven Web UHF antenna design has been combined with the Midas NFC antenna. Smartrac Web DF inlays and tags can be easily converted into hangtags and are available in wet and paper tag delivery formats.

Web DF is equipped with the EM4423 chip that combines two functionalities on one single die: the EPC technology used for long-range application purposes, and the NFC technology used to exchange data in close proximity. Both protocols may share a common, unique ID. Leveraging the IC’s unique features, Web DF provides multiple benefits for retailers and logistics providers, from inventory management to new marketing and after-sales service opportunities.

Web DF’s unique design makes it easy to add NFC functionality later on just by programming the IC, without the need to reconfigure and requalify the whole UHF infrastructure. Therefore the implementation of NFC within the value chain is almost as easy as turning a key.

Smartrac’s RFID inlays and tags are compliant with ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management and ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management, which ensures reliable and state-of-the-art products that meet a variety of application needs.

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