Twintag physical representation: NFCs, QR codes, RFIDs etc.

A twintag represents the marriage between a physical asset and its digital counterpart. Both sides are linked by a unique identifier.
Michiel De Backker
April 28, 2022
7 minutes

A twintag represents the marriage between a physical asset and its digital counterpart. Both sides are linked by a unique identifier.

In this article we’ll take a look at how a twintag can physically be represented on your product or other object.

URL

A very simple form of representing a twintag is using a simple URL: https://twintag.io/unique-id

Naturally, this isn’t a great way to attach a twintag to a physical product. However, it’s an easy way to share a twintag digitally.

QR codes

The most popular way to represent a twintag is using a QR code. We take the twintag URL and encode it into a QR code image. This makes it trivial to go from the physical product experience to the digital experience with a single scan. You can scan with the default camera app of any modern smartphone, no apps or accounts required.

We recommend featuring the QR code prominently on your product to promote scanning.

NFC

NFC, or near-field communication, chips are small chips that can transfer data over a short distance. NFC chips are also supported by most modern smartphones. This again makes it trivial to go from the physical product experience to the digital experience with a single tap of your phone on the NFC chip. The user experience of an NFC chip is therefore very similar to a QR code.

Many customers know they can use their credit card for contactless payment. However, they don’t know the technology can also be used to open a digital experience on their phone. Compared to a QR code, NFC icons are less universally recognisable by customers. Finally, it’s worth noting that NFC chips are slightly more expensive than QR codes.

Bar codes

Bar codes are commonly found on many products. They can also be used to represent a unique identifier. However, they are not scannable by a common smartphone without installing additional purpose-built apps.

RFID

RFID is a chip based technology, similar to NFC. While RFID can enable interaction at longer ranges, this technology is not supported by smartphones without additional hardware

Digital watermarks

Digital watermarks allow marking the entire surface of a product with its unique identifier in a way that is invisible to the naked eye.

While an invisible marking may be advantages in some cases, it also has its disadvantages. For example: if a customer can’t see your marking, how will they know to scan it? For this reason, the technique is less suited for human interaction such as marketing. It is more suited for machine interaction, for example for sorting of discarded packaging in a recycling facility.

Image recognition

Image recognition can be used to tie a digital experience to physical objects using their appearance. For example by interpreting an existing label. The main downsides include the investment to develop recognition algorithms. In addition, this requires a customer to access a special scanner.

Physical fingerprint

Just like the fingerprint of a person, some objects have immutable and unforgeable properties that can act as their inherit unique identifiers. Examples include chemical marking or the optical fingerprint of a diamond. These properties can be used to unequivocally link a digital experience or certificate to a physical object. The main downside is that these physical properties are harder to verify.

BLE beacon

BLE, or Bluetooth low energy, beacons can be used to push a unique identifier to any smartphone within the range of the beacon.

Twintag

Twintag operates independently of the type of physical representation used. Engage your customers with rich content upon a simple single scan, using any modern mobile device. Extend your customer interactions from physical to digital with near-zero friction.

Twintag enables you to build out your Product-Led Communication offering without operating any new IT infrastructure. Our team will help you along every step of your Product-Led Communication journey.

Wondering what we can do for your business? Request your free demo now!

Michiel De Backker

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