Greeting cards have entered the Internet of Things (IoT), and are using
Near Field Communication (NFC)
to add a new, digital touch to personal messages.
Websites that offer personalized greeting cards – custom-designed
online, printed and then delivered by a postal carrier – have been
around for a while. But a new service, called GreetingCards+, is doing something
different. Each card they print is embedded with an NFC
chip, which links to digital content stored in the cloud. When the card
arrives at its destination, the recipient accesses the content with a simple
tap of their smartphone.
That means you can send a birthday card that links to a video of you and your
friends saying hello, or celebrate the end of exams with a personal message
via video. You can even create a new kind of travel postcard, by linking a
card to a video that shows places you’ve visited or the beach-front
view of your hotel balcony.
By issuing customized cards that include a link to digital content,
GreetingCards+ lets people share emotions and make connections in a new way,
using a combination of traditional mail and cutting-edge IoT technology. The
new service builds a bridge between offline and online communication, and
creates a new crossover between the real and digital worlds.
The cards produced by GreetingCards+ are compatible with Android and iOS
phones. Apple recently opened up their NFC reader functions, so anyone with an
iPhone 7 or later, running iOS 11, can connect with the NFC chip inside the
card to view the video. For earlier versions of the iPhone, a QR Code
that’s connected to the card’s digital content, is also
Easy, Fast and Fun
The service has engaging visuals and custom designs for just about any
occasion, from the usual birthdays, congratulations and get-well-soon
messages to special designs for holidays, like Mother’s Day, Halloween and Christmas.
Creating a card is fast and easy, it starts with a visit to the GreetingCards+
website. Soon, a smartphone app will be available too. You select from an
extensive gallery of eye-catching cover art, then add a personal photo and
greeting to the inside. Next, you upload a video and link it to the card, then
finish by supplying an address and paying a small fee. GreetingCards+ takes
care of the rest – they print the card to your specs, complete with an
NFC chip embedded in the paper and mail the card to its destination. The back
of each custom card is even printed with simple instructions, so the recipient
is sure to access the digital content linked to the card.
See how it works in
Backed by RFID Expertise
The GreetingCards+ service is the creation of the Italian company
Arti Grafiche Julia, a leader in RFID-enabled items, including MIFARE-based tickets, wristbands,
labels and lottery tickets. Embedding NFC chips into a custom paper greeting
card is directly in their line of expertise, and a natural extension of their
business. The initial launch of the service is in the United Kingdom, where
the Royal Mail is on board to deliver the cards, as well as in their home
country Italy. Other countries will be brought online soon.
Arti Grafiche Julia website
NXP NFC portfolio