Greetings from the IoT: Custom greeting cards use NFC to add video links 13. December 2017

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 provided.

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 this video.

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® IC 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.