Tikitag: A barcode-based alternative to personal RFID tags

In the same week as Microsoft's own rollout of Tags, smaller personal electronic tag maker Tikitag -- an Alcatel-Lucent venture -- talked up the future addition of less expensive barcode tags to its existing RFID offering.

Tikitag -- first announced at the the Demo show in San Diego -- uses high frequency RFID (HFRFID) operating at 13.56 MHz to connect real world items such as business cards, stuffed toys, and paintings to the Web through passive RFID tags and active readers.

The technology is also compatible with Near Field Communication (NFC), a standard based on HFRFID which is now being implemented in some mobile phones.

Speaking with Betanews this week at CES, Jeremy DeClerq, Tikitag's product manager, said that although Tikitag's technology is seeing a lot of use, a less costly version of the product is planned for March. He said that some companies otherwise interested in using Tikitag tags on business cards, for instance, are finding RFID too pricey.

A demonstration of Tikitag barcoding at CES 2009 Showstoppers.Tikitag's new alternative will use barcodes instead of RFID, DeClerq noted, in an inteview at the Showstoppers event in Las Vegas.

DeClerq also said that Tikitag might be interested in talking with Microsoft about establishing some kind of relationship around electronic tags.

In an interview with Betanews at Pepcom's "Digital Diner" earlier in the week, MSDN Direct officials said that the technology behind Microsoft Tags doesn't use RFID, but that it allows for the inclusion of more information on a tag than barcoding does.

Just entering beta, Microsoft Tags also let you build tags that can then be placed on a business card or just about any other item. Once the Microsoft Tag is scanned in by a camera on a smartphone, the user can go directly to a Web site associated with the tag without typing in a URL.

Microsoft Tags will run in its Windows Mobile environment, in addition to Android, Symbian, and other smartphone environments, said Joe Coco, product unit manager for Microsoft's MSN Direct.

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