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tikitag: RFID for the masses

Here at Crave, we're huge fans of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, so it's no wonder we got excited when Firebox handed us the tikitag system

Here at Crave, we're huge fans of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Oyster cards have made our commutes less painful, RFID passports are promising to cut queues at airports, and the data logged by our office keys give us alibis when we're accused of crimes we didn't commit -- true story.

So it's no wonder we got excited when Firebox handed us the tikitag personal RFID system. This consists of a small USB scanner, rather like the Oyster readers at London train stations, and a bag of tikitags -- small stickers, which when scanned can trigger pre-programmed, PC-related tasks.

The actions of each tikitag can be changed by downloading and editing 'applications' from the tikitag Web site. At present, the majority of tikitag apps are pretty basic, but there are glimmers of promise. One application -- the Social Business Card -- lets you launch a page linking to all your social media pages. The idea is that you program multiple tikitags with this functionality, stick them on the back of your business cards, hand them out to other owners of tikitag readers, and they'll get quick online access to all your data.

But therein lies the problem -- almost nobody has a reader, and until the tikitag development community starts coming up with applications that do something a little more useful than 'scan this tag to turn your speaker volume up a bit', or 'open this Web site', not many more people will buy one.

We suggest tikitag give the £35 readers away to companies for free in order to raise awareness, and cut the price of replacement tags -- £20 for 25 is too much to ask. Perhaps doing so would raise awareness of the product, increase the size of the development community, and increase the proliferation of this potentially brilliant piece of kit.

Starter packs will be available from Firebox later this week.