How Does NFC Technology Change The Medical Industry?
Recently, Avery Dennison Smartrac, PragmatIC Semiconductor and Schreiner MediPharm have cooperated with their respective expertise in their respective fields, and have taken advantage of the powerful functions of NFC technology in the field of smart packaging in the medical industry. The struggle between pharmaceutical companies and counterfeiters has always been like an arms race. Concerns about counterfeiting, traceability and other issues, coupled with the recent impact of COVID-19 and the accompanying security concerns, people are increasingly demanding more effective packaging solutions. This is where NFC technology can really play an important role. NFC's communication distance between two electronic devices does not exceed 4 cm, and can be used for secure payment, digital information exchange, and packaging labels.
Avery Dennison Smartrac and other three companies have worked together to embed NFC smart tags into daily medical and pharmaceutical products. The purpose is not only to provide security requirements such as identity verification and data tamper-proofing, but also to provide consumers with a wide range of benefits, from convenient Re-order to quick-access instruction guides, social interactions, all of which can be done only with a smart phone with NFC function.
NFC is a form of RFID technology, but with the development of its functions, it can also be regarded as a "higher level" technology. Stefan said that the ingenuity of NFC lies in the full usability of smartphones as reading devices. The label also contains a unique product code, which has advantages in the security, identity verification and traceability of the entire supply chain. Take the COVID-19 vaccine as an example. Although, sadly, there are already fake vaccines on the market, it is obviously very dangerous from the perspective of the trust of the vaccine plan and the harmful substances contained in these fake vaccines. The built-in security features provided by NFC are one way to solve this harmful threat.
This is also a good way for brands that want to protect their intellectual property rights. Amir said: "This is a very powerful and safe emerging technology. Another component we want to add is the secure coding function to lock the label with the data, which is very valuable in terms of brand protection. Compared with other barcode technologies, NFC does not require a direct line of sight; compared with traditional QR codes, customers encounter fewer problems when using NFC tags. With NFC, consumers can customize the experience according to the application, thus enjoying a smooth and non-stop experience.
At the moment, although the above issues are the most important, they are not just security and authentication issues. Stefan said: "In new drug delivery systems such as injection pens or home tests, patients always have a lot of questions about the expiration date of the drug and the way it is administered. If a medical company has many kinds of temperature-sensitive drugs or many kinds of medical devices that require instructions for use, they hope to be able to provide users with information in a digital way. If users only use their smartphones to lean on this software package and get a video to teach people how to use this product, it will be a great thing. There is also a system that even allows patients to remember when they took the medicine when they are taking the medicine, which is also a way to solve the patient’s doubts. In summary, adding NFC functionality to daily medicines at a lower cost will be a huge opportunity for the industry. And this is not all, there are still many opportunities in other fields.
"We have been talking about the pharmaceutical industry, but PragmatIC Semiconductor also operates in other markets, such as traceability and authenticity in the food industry. There are many other possibilities in the market. We have even seen some queries that use NFC to ensure the legitimacy of PPE. In addition, this technology has also played a role in helping consumers understand packaging recycling, so it also involves environmental aspects.
This will undoubtedly be a disruptive technology and will continue to receive attention in the future. In addition to having the potential to disrupt the industry, there is one more point: the RFID project in the medical industry is a good example of what effect can be achieved through the actual collaboration of the entire supply chain.