In our recent ‘eight reasons you want NFC on your phone‘ story, we explained why NFC is here to stay and why it makes your life easier. It prompted a few of you to ask about how to write your own NFC tags and also where to get them form. I said I’d look into it, and I have. Hopefully this will help.
It’s probably best to start with where to get your own NFC tags from, and I’ll then go onto explaining how to write your own data to them.
NFC tags are traditionally embedded into pieces of card, paper or flat pieces of plastic. But times have changed and so has the design of NFC tags.
Where to buy NFC tags
RapidNFC manufactures and supplies NFC tags around the world and while I’ve not purchased any tags from there myself, the products on their site look top-notch.
The prices of these products are reasonable and can vary depending on my many items you wish to purchase.
For example, a Mini Six Pack of stickers will cost you £4.50 per pack, and the Premium Ultralight Silicone Wristband will cost you £1.65 each for a single piece. However, if you order more than nine, they’ll charge you £1.35 each. The price again reduces at over 99 and 999 pieces.
Once you’ve browsed for the best product to suit you, you can choose whether you want the tags to come encoded, or not. Asking RapidNFC to encode the item for you will typically cost 5 pence an item.
If you choose for RapidNFC to encode the item, the options available are either a URL or text and you enter those details into the text entry box on their site.
You’ll also want to decided whether your new NFC tags are to be locked, or not. If you ask for unlocked tags, you’ll be able to write your own data to the tag (and so will anybody else, if they decide to). Locked tags mean that the data is permanently set and can’t be change. This is a much safer option if you’re looking to put your tags out in a public area. That way, it means that people can’t hijack your tags with their own data.
If you can’t decide which product is best for you, RapidNFC have put together a Trial NFC Starter Pack priced at £14.95.
- 11 plain stickers
- 6 printed stickers
- 2 non-metal stickers
- 2 small paper tickets
- 1 wristband
- 1 keyfob
- 1 plastic card
That’s 24 NFC tags! What a bargain.
Writing and editing NFC tags
There are a number of ways to write data to an NFC tag, but the best and easiest way to do it is to use an app on your phone.
NFC Interactor for Nokia Lumia smartphones costs £1.49 ($1.99) and provides plenty of NFC-tag-editing goodness.
For starters, if you’re looking to write or edit a tag, it’s good to see what’s on there first. NFC Interactor allows you to read all the data stored on the tag in great detail, such as; tag size, URL directs, or any text that’s on the tag. Just touch the NFC tag to the back of your Nokia Lumia to gain access to the tags’ info.
Once you’ve established that the tag is good to write on, go ahead and give it a go.
You can add a URL, or vCard data, so that when people touch their phone against the tag they will see this information. However, if you want something a little more fancy and clever, experiment with the app.
There’s the option to add a voice message to the tag, which the other person can listen to once they tap the tag with their phone. Also, you can create launch tags, too. These will open certain apps on your phone, just by touching the tag and the phone together.
For example, you can program the tag to open Facebook, or Nokia Music. You can even program the tag to open a destination on the phone using Nokia Maps, making navigation a whole lot easier and quicker.