A glossary of terms for NFC, barcodes, IoT, BLE, printing, software development and more.

1-Up (Tags)A layout of tags on a roll when there is only one tag along the width of the roll
ABSAcrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene – A hard, durable plastic material used to make durable NFC tags
ActionWhat happens on the device when a tag is interacted with
ACSAdvanced Card Systems Holdings Limited – Manufacturer of NFC hardware
AL (Material)Aluminum – A material often used for NFC antennas
AntennaThe metal part of the NFC inlay used to receive and broadcast RF signals
APIApplication Programming Interface – A connection point to an online system used by remote clients
Bad (Tag)A tag that is not readable by a device
BarcodeA print based tag technology
BeaconA Bluetooth based tag technology; often refers to Apple’s iBeacon
BLEBluetooth Low Energy
Bleed Line (Printing)A virtual line on a printed product indicating the maximum printable area prior to die cutting; artwork should stay within this line in order to be printed
Bulk (Encoding)A type of tag encoding where every tag is encoded with the exact same data
C#/.NETMicrosoft .NET programming language and framework
Chip (NFC)The integrated circuit in an NFC tag; comes in several types
Chip Type (NFC)The type of integrated circuit in an NFC tag
Clear (Inlay)Transparent PET used as the substrate for NFC inlays
Clone (Tag)A process to duplicate a physical tag so it apears the same to software
CMYKCyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black)
Correlated (Encoding)An NFC encoding method that matches variable printed data on a physical tag to the data encoded to the NFC chip memory
Cut Line (Printing)A virtual line on a printed product indicating the approximate location of a die cut post-printing; artwork should stay within this line in order to be printed
Direct Transfer (Printing)A print technology in which the substrate is directly heated; often used for card printing
Data MatrixA 2d barcode format that can efficiently store alphanumeric characters; sometimes used instead of QR Code
Delivery Format (Tags)A description of the physical format of the tags; roll, sheet, individually cut…
DeviceAn electronic device that can start the communication with either a tag or another device
Die Cut (Tags)A label which has been individually cut out along with its liner; as opposed to kiss cut
Digital (Printing)A print methodology in which the artwork is rendered digitally for each product to be printed; as opposed to flexographic printing
Dry (Inlay)An NFC inlay that does not include adhesive or liner; typically comes as a roll
Electromagnetic SpectrumThe range of frequencies that light (photons) can exist as; includes visible, x-ray, radio (RF), gamma…
Empty (Tag)An NFC tag without the NFC chip; used as a chear material for product testing and evaluation
EncoderThe GoToTags NFC Encoder software and hardware
Encoding (NFC)The process of writing data to the user memory of an NFC tag; several types of encoding exist
Encoding FileA file used by the GoToTags NFC Encoder to define the data to be encoded onto NFC tags
Ferrite (Tags)A iron-based material used to absorb certain unwanted RF frequencies; used to make on-metal NFC tags
Finish (Tags)A description of the materials on the top layer of an NFC tag
FirmwareComputer software that is run on a hardware device to control the hardware; sometimes can be user upgradable
Flexographic (Printing)A print methodology based on relief plates; as opposed to digital printing
Food Safe (Tags)The use of materials which comply with USA FDA 21 CFR and EU food regulations for the safe use on or near food packaging
Formatted (NFC)A permanent process during NFC tag encoding to prepare the tag to be an NFC/NDEF tag vs other data formats
Full Bleed (Printing)In printing, when the artwork covers the entire surface and edges of a product without an unprinted border at the edges
HF (RFID)High Frequency RFID – A subset of the electromagnetic spectrum in which NFC operates at; 13.56 Mhz
ID (Printing)A human readable identifier printed on product to uniquely identify it
IDENTIVIdentiv – Manufacturer of RFID inlays and hardware
IncotermsAn industry defined set of terms to describe the payment and liability responsible for shipped packages
Inductive CouplingThe near field wireless transmission of electrical energy between two magnetically coupled coils
IoTInternet of Things – A generic term to describe when physical items interact with or have online counterparts
Inlay (NFC)The most basic form of an NFC tag; includes the antenna and NFC chip; can be wet or dry
InteractionThe record of a device reading a tag or another device
ISO 14443An international standard that defines proximity cards used for identification, and the transmission protocols for communicating with it
ISO 15693An international standard that defines vicinity cards, which can be read from a greater distance as compared to proximity cards
JSONJavaScript Object Notation – A textual data format to represent structured data as a set of attributes/values
Keyboard EmulationA computer device which provides simplistic textual input to a computer which emulates typing on a keyboard
Kiss Cut (Tags)A form of die cutting where a very light impression cuts through the label but not the liner, allowing the label to easily be removed from the liner later
Lamination (Tags)A tag manufacturing process in which two materials are sandwiched and bonded together
Liner (Tags)A silicon based paper material used as the backing for products with adhesive allowing them to easily be removed later
Locked (NFC)An NFC chip with all pages of memory permanently flagged as read-only memory
Matrix (Tags)The label waste material that is outside the cut line
MemjetA digital printing technology based on nano-sized droplets of ink
Memory (NFC)The portion of the NFC chip that is able to store user defined data
MSDSMaterial Safety Data Sheet – A document used to describe the safe handling of a material
NDEFNFC Data Exchange Format – A data format used to represent contextualized data on an NFC tag
NFCNear Field Communication
NFC ForumA standardization body promoting NFC interoperability through compliance with a set of specifications
NTAGA series of NFC forum compliant NFC chips from NXP; comes in several models
NXPNXP Semiconductors – Manufacturer of NFC chips
On-Metal (Tags)An NFC tag that can operate on metal surfaces without interference; often with the use of ferrite
PantoneA proprietary set of colors used in printing
PC/SCPersonal Computer/Smart Card
PET (Material)Polyethylene Terephthalate – A plastic material used for the substrate of dry NFC inlays
PlatformAn online system to manage tags and collect interaction analytics
Pitch (Tags)The linear distance from the top of form on one label to the top of form on the next label
PVC (Material)Polyvinyl chloride – A plastic material used to make NFC tags and cards
PO (Store)Purchase Order – A document used by a seller to purchase goods from a supplier for a specified price with specified payment and shipping terms
Print ProofThe digital representation of a printed product before printing; used as a part of a print verification process
QR CodeQuick Response Code – A type of 2d barcode
Quiet Space (Barcode)An area of white space surrounding a barcode to allow for scanners to effectively identify and read the barcode
Reader (NFC)An NFC enabled device that can interact with NFC tags
Record (Encoding)NDEF Record – A contextualized data format used to define an action
Recto (Printing)The front side of a two sided print on a single sheet
Registration Mark (Tags)A visible mark (often a black line) used on roll based label products to define the start of each label; used by the printer for alignment
Retransfer (Printing)A print method that applies an image onto a transparent film that is thermally bonded to the substrate
RFRadio Frequency – Part of the electromagnetic spectrum
RFIDRadio Frequency Identification – A RF based technology for a device communicate with a tag or other device
RoHSRestriction of Hazardous Substances Directive – Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
ScannerA device that can read barcodes
SDKSoftware Development Kit – A software library used to perform a specific function; interact with an API, hardware…
Serialize (Encoding)The order of encoding/printing data via unique and incremental values (1, 2, 3…)
SMARTRACSmartrac Group – Manufacturer of RFID inlays
TagA generic term for something in the physical world that can be interacted with by a device
TDSTechnical Data Sheet – A document describing the material, layout and other specifications for a product
Thermal (Printing)A digital printing process in which material is applied to paper (or some other material) by melting a coating of ribbon
ThingThe concept, often a noun, that the tags represent (person, place,…)
TLVType Length Value – A way to represent type, variable data in a data communication protocol; used in NDEF
Type 2 (NFC)An NFC Forum specification based on ISO/IEC 14443A
UHF (RFID)Ultra High Frequency RFID – A subset of the electromagnetic spectrum
UIDUnique Identifier – A read-only, unique value written to each NFC chip at the factory; usually 7 bytes
UVUltraviolet Light – A part of the electromagnetic spectrum; tends to fade printed materials over time
UV Overlay (Printing)A liquid finish applied as a post printing process, which is bonded and cured with ultraviolet light to prevent fading
Variable (Encoding)A type of tag encoding where each tag is encoded with different data
VATValue-Added Tax
Vector ArtArtwork created through points, curves and angles rather than pixels; often used to generate high quality art files of any resolution for printing
Verso (Printing)The reverse side of a two sided print on a single sheet
Web Width (Tags)The widest point of the label liner for roll based labels
Wet (Tags)An NFC tag that includes adhesive and a liner
Wide Web (Tags)A layout of tags on a roll when there are multiple tags along the width of the roll; 5-up, 7-up…
White (Tags)An NFC tag with a white paper of PET face material