The Engineer's Notebook Blog

The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

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Hot New Technologies of 2009: Tikitag

Posted January 07, 2009 11:51 AM by Steve Melito

"We all cross three to four thousand objects a day," notes Anthony Belpaire of Tikitag, an Alcatel-Lucent venture that is linking real-world items to on-line applications. Tikitag technology, the general manger explains, is designed to "bridge the world and the on-line world" by "building the Internet of things". Simply put, Tikitag's goal is to connect items in the physical world (such as signs, monuments, product labels, and patient information) to robust Internet applications. Today, 45 such applications are either in development or active use. The goal, Belpaire recently told CR4's Steve Melito, is to build millions more.

About Tikitag

Tikitag was launched in March 2008 as a Lucent "venture", a start-up with its own profit and loss statement (P&L). Powered by a core team of 15 people, Tikitag has key players in Antwerp, Belgium, as well as in New Jersey and San Francisco. By running Tikitag in this way, Anthony Belpaire explains, Lucent is providing it with the strong backing of a large company, but with the freedom to avoid missed opportunities. Later, Tikitag may be acquired by a business division within Lucent.

What are Tikitags?

Tikitags are 1-inch weather-resistant paper stickers that are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. They contain data such as the medical condition and health history of a hospital patient, or detailed information about a product advertised on a poster at a bus station. Users can make their own Tikitags, or buy a kit from either the Tikitag store or Tikitags are easy to print, Belpaire notes, and no "special equipment" is required to read them. All that's needed is an NFC-enabled mobile phone.

What is NFC?

Near field communication (NFC) is a proven, consumer-friendly form of radio frequency identification (RFID) that provides one-touch functionality. Many cell phones and other handheld devices are NFC-equipped. NFC has achieved its greatest market penetration in the Asian-Pacific region, where 80% of new phones are NFC-ready. There are only 2 to 3 million active NFC devices in the United States, but that number is expected to grow. According to Anthony Belpaire, "it's really just a question of time". Already, NFC tags are used in employee IDs and commuter cards.

Tikitag Applications

Although developers can use embedded Tikitags in products such as an online application for toys, Tikitag isn't just for the Wal-Marts of the world. Grandparents, wine lovers, and many others can also benefit from Tikitag technology.

"An elderly grandparent", Belpaire notes, "may have difficulty using Skype to make a phone call". (Skype, a peer-to-peer voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), is a popular social network that allows users to make free telephone calls over the Internet to other Skype members.) With Tikitag, grandparents can simplify the process of using unfamiliar Skype software. As Belpaire explains, a familiar photo of a family member can be used to launch a call to a loved one.

Wine drinkers can also benefit from Tikitag technology. Let's say you need to select a bottle of wine, but don't know much about your choices. The label on a wine bottle has limited real estate, but the bottle can bear a Tikitag. As you shop in the liquor store, you aim your NFC-enabled mobile phone at different bottles for more information. Voila! The Tikitag provides detailed information from the vintner.

Cheers, Tikitag!


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Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - BSME Clarkson University 1992 Engineering Fields - Software Engineering - BSME Clarkson University 1992 Fans of Old Computers - TRS-80 - DataRock 1.0

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Re: Hot New Technologies of 2009: Tikitag

01/07/2009 5:14 PM

Hi Moose -

Think I've seen these already being used in Japan.

Wondering if UPC code information is being passed between the tag and the mobile phone, or if the folks at Alcatel-Lucent had to come up with their own identifier system?

I can see using these at home to take an inventory for my insurance company (improvement on the video camera inventory), or to bring up a user manual/Internet support person (on an iPhone or Android, for example) while working on/physically-located-at the object (my furnace, for example).

Thanks for sharing this.

- Larry

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Re: Hot New Technologies of 2009: Tikitag

01/08/2009 1:23 PM

Yes, I've read of something like just in Japan.


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Re: Hot New Technologies of 2009: Tikitag

08/26/2009 2:53 AM


Ours company is auto company & we are using the RFID tags for capturing the DATA. As you have said that TIKITAG was used to control inventory. So, can you explain how it works in this direction. We also want to control a particular level of inventory for our auto related parts/spares. We want to implement this idea for controlling the inventory. Please help &reply to


Sushant Kumar

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Re: Hot New Technologies of 2009: Tikitag

09/24/2009 11:43 PM
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