PaladinID is talking with industry leaders about how technology is leading bar codes into a more expansive platform involving RFID and NFC….
Dana Ritchie, of PaladinID, is moderating this interview with Tim Daly, NFC Evangelist for NXP.
Q: Tim, let’s just back track for a moment and recount when you first were introduced to mobile contactless technology using NFC.
A: In 2006, when I was CEO at Starlite Media, it was clear that the Out-of-Home (OOH) world needed to find a way to push messaging from freestanding media units to personal mobile devices – the most relevant and important device in our life. We tested the technologies that existed at the time – mobile WiFi, Bluetooth and Image Recognition (IR)…all this was PRE-QR codes! As we experimented with those platforms, I became familiarized with RFID technology and a new subset of RFID – called Near Field Communications (NFC). What was so interesting about NFC was that you have the ability to connect a mobile device to any THING (object) that had an affixed NFC chip, in the most secure manner possible. I’ve spent over a decade advancing NFC as the connection between physical and digital – in essence, the Internet of Things.
Q: What were the early challenges that you experienced with NFC?
A: When I first started to experiment with NFC – there was only one mobile device that could read an NFC tag. Today, every smartphone manufactured has an NFC reader built in. I find it amazing that in 7 years, we’ve seen such a staggering adoption. Now, with NFC, you can reach everyone who has a smartphone – which is most of the population. I can’t think of another technology that has proliferated so widely and so quickly.
Q: Tim, PaladinID primarily serves the pharmaceutical and BioTech industries. How do you see RFID and NFC addressing the dilemmas facing these industries?
A: The biggest challenge in pharma is counterfeit medications, and verification that the medication has been administered in compliance with the prescribed dosage. One example would be verifying that the patient took the proper medication dosage as it was prescribed. This also helps to solve another industry challenge – insurance reimbursements. The real-time occasion when the patient ingested the medication and it was documented is an example of how NFC advances and streamlines compliance and insurance reimbursement.
Q: OK, I understand this use case, but how would it actually work?
A: This takes us back to the core definition of NFC. NFC is the global standard for passive 2-way secure communications between an NFC tag and a mobile device. Each NFC tag has a unique, fixed ID. That unique tag can be affixed to a prescription label, bottle or package, enabling the pharmacist to associate the medication to the unique tag ID and ultimately to the recipient of the prescription. In this work flow, the pharmacy associates the medication with the dosage instructions and then connects it to the patient’s medical information.
Also, the FDA requires that product information accompany each prescription drug, we’ve all received multiple pages of tiny print from our pharmacist containing side effects, warnings and other critical information. I don’t know about you, Dana, but often that paper finds its way into my trash bin. NFC enables this relevant information to be stored and readily available when needed. Some pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies even require an acknowledgement that the patient has received this information…and wouldn’t it be ideal if the patient could easily reference this information when it means the most to them? With NFC, that information can be ready to be accessed on a mobile device at any time – simply by connecting with the compliance link.
Q: That’s a very powerful workflow – but you mentioned counterfeit medications before. How would that be solved with NFC?
A: By affixing an NFC tag to the package at the point of bottling/fulfillment, the pharmaceutical is providing an digital verification of its product. This digital ID enables pharmacies to verify the drug received, and also associates the verified pharmaceutical with the specified dosage and/or prescription as it is delivered to patients. With the pending GS1 standards, this will become a requirement and, as far as I’m concerned, NFC will become the gold standard.
Q: I understand how NFC will contribute to the pharmaceutical sector, where else do you see it fitting in?
A: CPG, Retail, Manufacturing, Industrial and Media come to mind first. Please remember that innovators in all these fields always saw the power of NFC…they were just waiting for the Reach and Scale – as I mentioned before, now that all smartphones have NFC capabilities, the possibilities are endless.
Hi, this is Dana Ritchie and I’ll be speaking more about RFID and NFC in the coming months, follow me on LinkedIn and we’ll continue the conversation in greater depth. If you have a use case for NFC or RFID, we’d love to hear from you.