December 14, 2017

adidas and Smartrac: Smart products that make a hot brand even hotter

When adidas presented Telstar 18, the Official Match Ball for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia in early November 2017, it introduced the first-ever match ball to feature an embedded NFC tag – Smartrac’s Circus Flex. That announcement is the perfect opportunity for Smartrac to explain how it has become a strong partner in supporting adidas’ NFC-related activities.

As a company, adidas owns one of world’s most iconic brands and, despite its great reputation, works tirelessly in a very competitive arena to continuously evolve that brand through design and innovation. That’s why the sports apparel giant has entered the new territory of making its products smart through Near-Field Communication (NFC) – with the support of one of the global leaders in adding intelligence to products – Smartrac.

Evolving customer experience with NFC
On the occasion of the Telstar 18 product launch, Roland Rommler, Football Hardware Category Director at adidas, said that, together with a new panel structure, NFC technology “has taken football innovation and design to a new level, offering both consumers and players a completely new experience.” In its press release, adidas’ stated that NFC “enables consumers to interact with the ball using a smartphone. Upon interaction – which involves a simple tap of a mobile device against the NFC touch-point on the ball – each ball generates a unique identifier, unlocking exclusive content and information for the user”.

“We‘ve come from manufacturing a few thousand shoes to mass-production schemes, and from delivering simple Internet links to providing exclusive, dynamic interactions in the real world – in digital form.” — Christian Uhl, CEO at Smartrac.
adidas Telstra ball

The personalized customer experience displays specific details of each ball, and provides access to different challenges, which users can enter in the run-up to the World Cup. What adidas says about NFC in its all-new World Cup ball also applies to the rest of the company’s NFC-enabled product range. This includes UltraBOOST® shoe models and top-of-the-line soccer jerseys in Bayern Munich and Real Madrid designs. They all have in common Smartrac’s NFC tags, which are a ticket to the new customer experiences.

Providing digital value to customers
By digitizing previously offline branded products brands like adidas get empowered with unprecedented reach through the unique digital value they provide to their consumers. Smart products like the Telstar 18 become a network of digital touch-points to turn consumers into fans.

For Christian Uhl, CEO at Smartrac, adidas and the RFID and IoT solutions pacesetter have come a long way since first experimenting with NFC more than four years ago. “We‘ve come from manufacturing a few thousand shoes to mass-production schemes, and from delivering simple Internet links to providing exclusive, dynamic interactions in the real world – in digital form”. Yet, there’s still a lot to come, according to Christian Uhl. “We continue working with adidas to make more of its products smart and to deliver more value to its customers. That’s why we’re busy working on enhancing and perfecting our NFC tags and our solutions portfolio, to enable secure product authentication and provide even more individualized and valuable content”.




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