How it works – understanding the DTAG100

The DTAG100 is a small electronic module that acts as an NFC Type 3 tag. Uniquely, the NFC tag data contents (known as NDEF records) are not programmed in the usual way via the radio interface, but instead can be set and updated at any time via one of the available wired interfaces – initially USB, with TCP/IP coming soon.

The standard version of the DTAG100-USB appears as a mass storage device when plugged into a USB host – this means that it needs no drivers, and is immediately compatible with almost all computing devices, media players and other platforms. To set the tag data, only a simple text editor is required, or some software that can write a text file in our easy-to-use file format. To integrate the dynamic tag into, say, a digital advertising platform, so that an advertiser URL and associated text message are automatically served as a standard NFC Smart Poster, all you need to do is arrange for this text to be written to the file every time the advert changes from one brand to the next!

Note that the DTAG100 is not using tag emulation, which is a feature of some NFC reader chip-sets and which can be complex and unreliable to implement. Instead we use the unique RC-S926 dynamic tag chip from Sony, which implements the radio interface strictly in accordance with the NFC Forum standards and specifications. Behind this we have developed a single-chip microprocessor solution that implements the necessary protocols and converts the Smart Poster URL and text data into the low-level tag information needed by the phone, whilst also handling the USB and (optional) TCP/IP communications with the host.

The DTAG100 module is designed to be fitted inside other devices, such as digital signage enclosures, bus stops or even televisions. The small, 80mm square board has easy fixing holes and connections, with the NFC antenna normally mounted directly above it in the centre, but this can be detached and mounted separately for maximum flexibility, especially in small spaces. The standard DTAG100 evaluation kit includes a traditional wall box pre-drilled with holes for the LEDs, to show how easy it is to fit in an office or retail environment – please contact us if you would like to discuss alternative mounting arrangements or housings.