Circus Flex adidas ball

June 14, 2018

Circus™ Flex: Taking branded products to championship level

Can a new tag be in the public eye before it’s released? Smartrac’s Circus Flex can, because it’s an integral part of adidas’ Telstar 18 FIFA World Cup Official Match Ball. Now you can experience the first-ever soccer match ball featuring an embedded NFC tag, the result of a partnership between adidas and Smartrac.

Smartrac’s well-established Circus™ product family of NFC tags welcomes a new member as the recently launched Circus™ Dura tag gets, let’s say, a non-identical twin: Circus Flex. Both tags have been specifically designed to offer enhanced environmental resistance for demanding product applications, and pave the way to entirely new consumer experience solutions featuring higher consumer engagement and loyalty opportunities for brands owners and retailers. And both even share the same IC and antenna design. Yet there is one decisive difference: while Circus Dura excels in robustness through stiffness, the new Circus Flex excels in robustness through flexibility.

Circus Flex

Circus Flex


Tested robustness through flexibility
Circus Flex’s thinner structure and flexibility (compared to Circus Dura) allows it to be directly embedded into playing balls like the Telstar 18, or jerseys, jackets and footwear. Embedded into such products, Circus Flex can withstand home washing and drying cycles as well as mechanical stress, temperature cycles and impact stress. Extensive tests confirmed that Circus Flex is resistant to practically any stress imaginable. 

Technology expertise resulting in unique properties
The striking feature of Smartrac’s new NFC product lies in the protection of the IC area using a special “glop top” seal, which shields the IC and its connection to the antenna. Manufacturing competence that enables the precise optimization of the glop top process, material and dimensions is what gives Circus Flex its unique properties. The tag responds to customer demands for highly protected flexible tags, while Circus Dura remains the optimum solution for highly protected stiff tags. Maximum stiffness and flexibility exclude each other, and with the advent of these two highly stress-resistant inlays and tags, customers can choose what best suits their needs.

A durable foundation to turn physical products into a digital hub
No matter which of the two ultra-robust NFC Circus tags is chosen, the foundation is laid for long lasting, enhanced consumer engagement. Both can be used to add digital value to products, and bridge offline products to the digital world. Circus Flex and Circus Dura retain the standard models’ tiny form factor, cost-effectiveness and best-in-class performance for item-level product authentication, brand protection and other potential applications. Both come with the NXP NTAG 213 IC on board, offering (UID) mirror functionality that enables the IC’s serial number to be mirrored as part of its encoded data, and identifies unique reads from the application perspective.

Taking customer engagement to a new level – now!
With its Telstar soccer balls, adidas already takes advantage of these superior functionalities as – when a smartphone is tapped on it – each ball generates a unique identifier, unlocking exclusive content and information for the user. Other Smartrac customers have already incorporated NFC into hard-to-tag products - such as Dyne, with its sports apparel, and Spyder with its outerwear range – turning these items into superior digital experience hubs at the tap of a smartphone.

With Smartrac Circus NFC inlays and tags and its ground-breaking customer loyalty and engagement solutions, brands can easily embed NFC intelligence into a broad range of products and take customer engagement to a new level – right now.

For further information about Smartrac’s Circus Flex Near Field Communication (NFC) inlays and tags, please contact our sales & customer service team.

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