Wearable IoT technology is a hot topic, in part because growth predictions for
wearables are so strong. For example, IDTechEx forecasts wearables will go
from $20 billion in 2015 to $70 billion in 2025.
Many wearables are electronic devices, such as watches and fitness trackers
that act as peripherals for a mobile phone. But we’re also seeing
something new – wearables as fashion, in the form of apparel, shoes and other accessories. Indeed, a recent survey by the World Economic Forum
(WEF) reveals that 92.1% of corporate leaders believe 10% of people will wear
clothes connected to the internet by 2025, and 85.5% believe 10% of eyewear
will be internet connected.
Redefining fashion with RFID-NFC
The idea of smart clothing may be fairly new, but the fact is that fashion and
electronics have been paired up for some time, as part of the supply chain.
Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID), which can be read by a special reader
device over a distance of a few meters, is already used to improve logistics,
drive fulfillment and make inventory more precise, with accuracy rates of up
to 99%. Now, as RFID tags have made their way into fashion items – in
the form of a paper hang tag, a textile tag stitched into a collar, a button
on a sleeve or a durable tag pressed into the sole of a shoe –
they’re letting fashion items interact with anyone, including
The attraction of NFC
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, a specified protocol within RFID,
is gaining ground in fashion items. It’s readable on any mobile-enabled
device from within a few centimeters, and, when combined with connectable
cloud software, creates new ways for brands and consumers to interact. NFC
gives a unique, non-transferrable identity to each item, enabling brands to
deliver value-added services that help drive revenue growth and loyalty, while
also gathering customer intelligence.
Four ways NFC can benefit brands
Authentication & anti-counterfeiting. Research shows
that as much as 10% of luxury apparel, 20% of sportswear and 30% of
sunglasses are already counterfeit today (Vandagraf International Research,
2015). With NFC and mobile authentication services, consumers can be certain
they’re buying genuine products, while brands and retailers can
prevent revenue loss and protect their reputations.
Context-sensitive digital content. NFC can provide digital
content and services related to the product, based on real-time shopping
needs, so as to motivate on-the-spot sales. Useful details, such as color or
size selectors, reviews, social feeds and in-stock item visibility, can
sway the purchase decision. Recommendations for other items that complement
the outfit can create cross-selling opportunities.
After-sales service. NFC can enhance the user experience
after the purchase, with easy access to customer care, exclusive brand
applications and tools or personalized rewards. These in turn help foster
brand loyalty and repurchases.
Customer intelligence. Cloud-based NFC applications
can track all tag interactions, for added market intelligence. So brand
owners can, respecting privacy law, collect valuable data on
customers’ identities, their interests and habits.
NFC NTAG and RFID UCODE examples
As the world leading producer of RFID-NFC identification products, we offer an
extensive chip portfolio across reading ranges and security levels, suited for
every kind of wearables and already in fashion items that you can buy today.
Samsung Smart Suit
A men’s business suit, with an embedded NFC button on the sleeve.
NTAG connects to a mobile device to open apps and exchange contact data.
The tag also lets wearers unlock their phone as they take it out of
their pocket, or exchange business cards digitally. You can also set
different modes on the phone, like office mode or drive mode.
Samsung Swing Golf Wear
When an NFC device taps the garment’s NTAG tag, the tag launches
a mobile app that gives golfers information about the course
they’re playing. You can, for example, see the distance from your
current location to the hole, get extra information about your golf
club or check weather and UV ratings where you are.
Arena Powerskin Collection
In collaboration with
Juniper Research award-winning partner idOO born identity
, swimwear tagged with NTAG guarantees product authenticity and allows
customers to enter an exclusive brand arena — all with the touch
of a mobile phone. Extras include technical details, certifications, how
to choose the right size, how to wear the garment, how to care for it,
and more. Purchasers can also interact with a swimming community that
includes peers, professionals and even champions.
Polo Ralph Lauren Fitting Rooms
In New York City, the brand’s flagship store uses smart fitting
rooms equipped with RFID-enabled mirrors to identify garments tagged
with RFID UCODE when they’re brought into the room. The RFID tags
are provisioned with a unique identifier which is then tied to other
information. While in the changing room, customers can access pricing,
look for alternate sizes and colors in stock, complementary items,
stylist recommendations or send a prompt to a shop assistant. The
interactions are logged by backend software, providing the company with
important data on consumer interests and habits.
Join the conversation
Have you ever interacted with a fashion item in a store? Do you agree with the
WEF findings that the next decade will see a significant number of people
adopting internet-connected clothes?
NXP NFC NTAG tags
NXP UCODE RFID tags