back to article Beer mats to tout tat to mobiles over wireless NFC

A phone on a pub table may be threatened by more than puddles of ale as RapidNFC has signed a deal with Rutland Print to craft beer mats that beam web addresses to mobes over the air. Quite why one would want wireless Near Field Communications (NFC) embedded in something designed to mop up booze isn't clear. An NFC tag can …


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  1. Code Monkey
    Thumb Down

    Exactly the sort of thing I go to the pub to avoid.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... "everyone" has NFC in the old mobe, then yes you can spam. Bring the operators on board and you can make sure of that, eh. Just gonna cost a bit more than that 30p for a beer mat.

    Though they probably could've done much the same thing over bluetooth, had they thought to add an appropriate "spam me" profile to the spec. But the mere fact that NFC actually allows you to pick up stuff from anywhere just like that, speaks volumes as to why using it as a wallet maybe isn't just the brightest idea.

    Besides, the point of a beer mat is that it absorbs spilled beer, and I'm not sure this thing will do that. But who cares, just add fancy bendable displays and lookit, moving advert pictures! Just the thing to decorate the bar with, innit? Maybe the local purveyor of vindaloo will agree to the tune of buying plenty adverts, too.

    1. Wize

      Re: Assuming...

      Most bluetooth devices are set to hidden these days to stop your device being spammed and to stop anyone hacking it.

      Now NFC looks like the new bluetooth. Spam from anywhere you will have your phone near and the possibility of some hacker putting a malformed packet allowing them to gain control of your device.

      Didn't like the idea of NFC to start with. Now its looking worse.

      Although I don't remember the last time I saw a beer mat in a pub.

      1. stucs201

        Re: Although I don't remember the last time I saw a beer mat in a pub.

        Then you're going to the wrong 'pubs'. Proper pubs with proper beer still have them.

        1. Wize

          Re: Although I don't remember the last time I saw a beer mat in a pub.

          My local does have proper beer with proper hand pumps. And not a beer mat in sight, even though it serves the usual lagers at 3 degrees making the tables all wet.

          There are a few pretentious ones serving all drinks on napkins, but they are are the fizzy lager/cocktail bars

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bionic journalists

    >Quite why one would want wireless Near Field Communications (NFC) embedded in something designed to mop up booze isn't clear.

    So they're going to start chipping El Reg journos.

    Is this in case they get lost after an afternoon session. Maybe it's in case of kidnap, altough unlikely. Most probably to communicate to the bar staff that their glass is close to empty and another beer is in order.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only innovative use of NFC I've heard of so far.

    Was a sysadmin who tagged all their servers and used a (modded) iPad to automatically remote into them by bonk.

    1. Code Monkey

      Re: The only innovative use of NFC I've heard of so far.

      Nice idea but it's hardly remote.

  5. adam payne

    What will they come up with next?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Meh....Time for the jammer to accompany me to the pub...Stop the plebs in their tracks....


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been in a Pub lately ?

    When was the last time anybody went in a pub and they had beermats on the table ? Perhaps they could use them as coasters for the ash trays.

    They would be better embedding them in the little brass table number that is used for the 'pub grub' or the drip trays they have on the bar.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Bassey

      Re: Been in a Pub lately ?

      "When was the last time anybody went in a pub and they had beermats on the table ?"

      That's strange. Two of you have made that comment now but I can't remember ever being in a pub that DIDN'T have beer mats. Of course, I live in the middle of nowhere. Maybe you city folk just can't be trusted with Beer Mats, what with your funny ways an all.

      1. Tom Wood

        Re: Been in a Pub lately ?

        There are beermats aplenty in Leeds' pubs. I reckon not having them must be a funny southern thing (like pouring flat pints).

        1. Tom Wood

          Re: Been in a Pub lately ?

          In fact, the mats in one pub I was in recently had QR codes on them which contained the link to some competition entry or something. What does NFC do that can't be done with a barcode printed at no extra cost onto a regular beermat?

          1. Cpt Blue Bear

            Re: Been in a Pub lately ?

            That's precisely what I was thinking. With the added bonus that your punters are self selecting for interest.

            "Perhaps they could use them as coasters for the ash trays."

            When was the last time you saw an ashtray in a pub?

  8. Da Weezil

    ..Where the sun dont shine....

    ....... is precisely the place for this gimmick.

    The more intrusive the ad, the more determined I am NOT to validate the ad by purchasing. I doubt I am alone in this.

    How about we let the public "embed" a few NFC chips in some assorted advertards to drive home this point.

    One more reason NOT to buy a phone with NFC capability. I have a phone for calls, texts mails and IMs. I have a wallet for ID/Cashetc - Cash allows me to control how much profiling is done by Credit/debit card companies and supermarkets. I am NOT a "marketing opportunity" - if my local starts treating me as such and selling that "opportunity" to a third party they will have even more fall off in trade to whine about.

  9. Kubla Cant

    So how does this work?

    I take my mobile, in my pocket, into a pub and the beer mat starts communicating with it. What happens then?

    Does the mobile ring or vibrate or something to let me know that the beer mat has something to say? I can see that feature being turned off pretty quickly.

    Or is it that when I look at my mobile on the way home, it tells me that the beer mat had something to tell me but it couldn't attract my attention? A bit sad, really, but then nobody said being a beer mat was a good career choice.

  10. ket


    If the beer mats are laminated, doesn't that make them useless for their primary function. They're used to mop up split beer and absorb the dribbles of condensation that run down the side of a glass on a hot day.

    Surely this is a coaster to protect your veneered table top from damage by the hot beverages, which is fine if you are drinking a nice cup of tea.

    1. foo_bar_baz

      Re: Laminated?

      Stop being so negative, the primary purpose of EVERYTHING is to push adverts at you. It's true for your Gmail account, it's true for your your Android device. Why not for your beermat?

  11. Richard 81

    If I see something like this in a pub....

    ...I'm taking it apart.

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge


    Rip Tear Rend.

  13. Stevie


    Don't clean beer mats get swiped by collectors any more?

    Can't see this being a money spinner, but then I couldn't see the point in owning a personal computer back in '94.

  14. Jacqui

    flash unit + flat coil = silence

    Works on cards and passports - should work on beer mats :-)

    Could be fun - tape under table and when triggered it makes the beer map go POP!.

    The hi tech version of flipping a mat and catching it :-)


  15. Jerome 0


    Pay-by-bonk sounds like just the killer app this new technology needs. Cash seems so grubby, after all.

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